Robert Farkas, one of the co-founders of Centra Tech, is negotiating to take a guilty plea for his role in the $25 million fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO).
With requests from Farkas’ attorneys’, the US District Judge Lorna Schofield has scheduled for a hearing plea next week. However, the trial against the promoters of the ICO has been delayed until September due to the Coronavirus lockdown.
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The details of the plea deal, however, are not into the public domain yet.
Farkas and Sohrab Sharma, another co-founder of Centra Tech, raised $25 million from July 2017 through March 2018 by selling digital tokens of the company. To grab public attention, they received endorsements from popular boxer Floyd Mayweather and rapper DJ Khalid.
Centra offered a bank card facilitating payments using digital currencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum.
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The promoters even falsified false licensing agreements from Visa, Mastercard, and Bancorp to drive the hype of the token sale.
The project soon came under the scanner of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the promoters were charged in April 2018 for committing securities and wire fraud.
Raymon Trapani, another operator of the ICO and also the “mastermind”, was charged by the watchdog agency and he pled guilty for nine counts of the charges brought against him last year.
Celebrity endorsements of fraud projects
The US agency also moved against the two celebrity endorsers as both Mayweather and Khalid failed to reveal their $100,000 and $50,000 payouts respectively for the endorsements.
Mayweather was fined with $300,000 in disgorgement, a $300,000 penalty, and nearly $15,000 in prejudgment interest for Centra Tech ICO and also for another $200,000 he failed to disclose from another two ICOs. Khaled paid $50,000 in disgorgement, a $100,000 penalty, and nearly $3,000 in prejudgment interest.