Rapper T.I. to Pay $75,000 Fine for Promoting Fraudulent ICO

(Bloomberg) — Clifford Harris Jr., the Atlanta-based rapper better known as T.I., agreed to pay a $75,000 penalty to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claims that he played a role in promoting an unregistered and fraudulent initial coin offering.

T.I. promoted FLiK tokens to his social media followers in 2017, falsely stating that he was a co-owner of the “Netlifx on the blockchain,” which was advertised as creating a streaming media platform with products that could be purchased with digital tokens, the SEC said in a statement Friday. The company’s founder, a film producer, is facing claims that he misappropriated money raised in the offering to buy a Ferrari, a million-dollar home, diamond jewelry and other luxury goods.

T.I., 39, agreed to the penalty without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings. The rapper regrets his involvement with the offering, his attorney said in an emailed statement. T.I. never received a dollar from the failed venture and immediately removed his name from it once he learned that the project was undeveloped, the lawyer added.

The musician joins Boxer Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled as celebrities who’ve been sued by the Wall Street regulator for hyping initial coin offerings. Celebrity endorsements of ICOs — in which companies raise money by selling digital tokens instead of shares — became increasingly common in 2017 as the price of Bitcoin surged to a record high.

(Updates with comment from T.I.’s lawyer in third paragraph.)

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