The three co-founders of Centra Tech, a cryptocurrency firm endorsed by retired boxer Floyd Mayweather and music star DJ Khaled, were indicted Thursday on fraud charges, federal prosecutors said.
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Raymond Trapani, Robert Farkas and Sohrab Sharma stand accused of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud, according to court documents.
Prosecutors allege that Centra Tech withheld crucial information from investors and lied about Visa and Mastercard business partnerships that never existed in order to lure people to invest in their digital currency through an “initial coin offering,” or ICO.
Mayweather and Khaled each promoted Centra Tech’s ICO last fall on their social media accounts, though neither was named in the indictment against the company’s co-founders. Authorities said they have seized more than $60 million in digital funds from Centra Tech as part of the investigation.
“As alleged, the defendants conspired to capitalize on investor interest in the burgeoning cryptocurrency market,” Deputy U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami said in a statement. “They allegedly made false claims about their product and about relationships they had with credible financial institutions, even creating a fictitious Centra Tech CEO. Whether traditional or cutting-edge, investment vehicles can’t legally be peddled with falsehoods and lies.”
Representatives for the co-founders did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment on the charges. All three men are currently in federal custody, according to CoinDesk.