Thursday, May 21, 2020

No. 373: Texas Securities Commissioner Iles Issues an Emergency Order Directed At an Out-of-State Promoter

On May 15, 2020, Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order (Order) directed at Nickolas Steele (aka Nick Vop Steele aka Nick Steele). The Order shows addresses for Steele in Bellwood, Illinois, in Elmhurst, Illinois, and in Franklin, Wisconsin.

The Order relates to cryptocurrency trading during the COVID-19 pandemic. I reached out to the securities departments in Illinois and Wisconsin to see if they know of Steele. I was not able to contact Illinois; the department may be closed due to the pandemic. I received this email from a spokesperson in Wisconsin:
Our research since you contacted us indicates that Nickolas Steele may have resided in an apartment in Wisconsin from approximately 2016 to early 2018. The rest of his residential history is largely in Illinois. In August 2016, he was charged in Racine County with operating a vehicle while suspended, and he provided an Illinois address at that time. The Texas order does not allege any activities occurring in Wisconsin or any investors here. We have not located any Craigslist advertisements targeting Wisconsin investors by Steele. However, we will record this inquiry in our database and be on the alert for any Wisconsin activity past or future.
I contacted the North American Securities Administrators Association to see if they know of Steele. I am awaiting a reply.

According to the Order, Steele has 31 days to request a hearing. Any knowing violation of the Order is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment for two to ten years, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The nine-page Order is here.