Rapper T.I. has been ordered to pay a $75,000 penalty over his role in a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme.
Officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Friday that the star has been charged for promoting FLiK and CoinSpark, “two unregistered and fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs)” led by film producer Ryan Felton, in the summer of 2017.
T.I., otherwise known as Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., was among five Atlanta-based people implicated in the case, with the complaint against the star reading: “T.I. offered and sold FLiK tokens on his social media accounts, falsely claiming to be a FLiK co-owner and encouraging his followers to invest in the FLiK ICO.”
The rap star’s social media manager William Sparks was also charged by the SEC.
By posting about FLiK on his social media accounts, officials say T.I.: “substantially amplified the reach of FLiK’s marketing campaign.”
Rolling Stone reported that a spokesperson for the Live Your Life star released a statement defending his actions, saying: “Mr. Harris regrets his involvement with Mr. Felton. 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.”
They added: “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.”
The statement also noted that once T.I. learned the project wasn’t legitimate, he immediately distanced himself from it.
Following the settlement with the SEC, T.I. will avoid criminal charges. However, in addition to the monetary penalty, he must also refrain from partaking in the cryptocurrency market for five years.
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