T.I. has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with promoting fraudulent initial coin offerings from the companies FLiK and CoinSpark.
As SEC revealed in a statement, T.I., film producer Ryan Felton, and three others have been charged with promoting fraudulent and unregistered cryptocurrency, which they all did over social media. With the exception of Felton, all of those involved have agreed to a settlement.
The charges filed allege that Felton launched ICOs across two companies, FLiK and CoinSpark, and used the funds to buy a $1 million home and Ferrari. He had promised to use said funds to build digital platforms for the investors, although that never surfaced. T.I. has been accused of promoting and selling FLiK tokens through the use of social media, falsely telling individuals that he was a co-owner and had encouraged others to invest in the same ICO.
Additionally, he allegedly told a celebrity friend to get involved too, going so far as to provide the language for their social media posts. Who the friend was, however, is not specified. T.I. has agreed to pay $75,000 to the U.S. government in order to settle the charges. As part of the agreement, he will not be involved with or promote any digital-asset securities for the next five years at least.
A spokesperson for T.I. provided a statement to Complex, expressing regret for his involvement and explaining the mishandling of business.
“Mr. Harris regrets his involvement with Mr. Felton," the spokesperson stated. "He attempted to help a local entrepreneur who presented an innovative idea for a streaming online platform that would help reduce the barriers of entry for creators of music and video content. Regrettably, Mr. Felton apparently never built the platform he promised T.I. and many others, and instead sought to profit from Mr. Harris’s popularity and reputation. Mr. Harris never took a dollar from Mr. Felton’s failed venture and immediately removed his name from it once he learned that the project was undeveloped. Mr. Harris responded to all inquiries made by the SEC, and the settlement announced today is in full satisfaction of that investigation. Mr. Harris will continue to look for ways to help new artists gain access to digital distribution.”
The charges come after SEC filed similar charges against Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled last year, as well as Steven Seagal this year.