Justice Department Sues Founders of Mayweather-Backed ICO


Criminal charges have been filed against the founders of an initial coin offering endorsed by heavyweight champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., adding to the allegations levied Monday by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Sohrab Sharma and Robert Farkas were arrested and hit with charges of fraud, as CoinDesk previously reported after the SEC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

According to statements from the U.S. Department of Justice issued Tuesday, the two were accused of “conspiring to commit, and the commission of, securities and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to induce victims to invest more than $25 million in investments through material misrepresentations and omissions.”

Centra’s ICO centered around the claimed issuance of a credit card, though questions quickly arose about the claims that the startup had a relationship with payment giant Visa. That claim would later be referenced in the SEC’s complaint as well as the filings submitted by the Justice Department.

“The claims that Sharma and Farkas made to help secure these investments, however, were false. In fact, Centra Tech had no relationships with Bancorp, Visa, or Mastercard, and at least seven of those 38 states have no record of any such licenses being issued to Centra Tech,” officials said in a statement.

Data from CoinMarketCap shows that the token issued through the Central token sale has seen a sharp drop in value, sliding to less than $0.11 in the past day. Its price had exceeded $4 back in January, market data further shows.

Justice statue image via Shutterstock

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