In a move the Securities and Exchange Commission is calling “yet another reminder to celebrities,” Paul Pierce has been charged over cryptocurrency promotion on social media.
On Friday, the SEC announced that the former NBA star had been charged in connection with not disclosing a payment of $244,000 in EMAX tokens from EthereumMax in exchange for posting about them on social media. Additionally, the SEC said, Pierce made “misleading statements” about EMAX on Twitter.
According to the SEC, Pierce’s actions marked violations of provisions of federal securities laws for anti-touting and antifraud. Pierce has now agreed to pay roughly $1.4 million to settle the charges, although this settlement does not mean that Pierce has admitted to or denied what the SEC determined about the crypto promo. He is also barred from promoting crypto a period of three years.
“When celebrities endorse investment opportunities, including crypto asset securities, investors should be careful to research if the investments are right for them, and they should know why celebrities are making those endorsements,” Gary Gensler, the chair of the SEC, said on Friday.
For a look at the full SEC filing, which also includes screenshots of the Twitter activity in question, consult this link.
Crypto-related charges have maintained a pervasive presence in headlines in recent months. Weeks before the SEC’s Pierce announcement, for example, the founder of a Las Vegas crypto company was sentenced to more than eight years behind bars after federal officials said he defrauded multiple investors out of millions of dollars.