Wednesday, June 23, 2021

No. 426: More on Bitcoin after Recent Ransomware Attacks

Several years ago I posted two items about Bitcoin, a form of "virtual currency" or "cryptocurrency." In view of recent ransomware attacks involving Bitcoin, I decided to prepare this update. My previous posts are No. 34 (March 3, 2014) and No. 268 (May 30, 2018). With regard to each of the four sections of this update, I provide a link to allow interested readers to see the relevant document.

The EscoCapital Case
On April 30, 2021, the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order directed at EscoCapital and Anthony Jerome. The order requires the respondents to cease and desist immediately from: (1) offering for sale any security in Texas until the security is registered with the Securities Commissioner or is offered for sale pursuant to an exemption under the Texas Securities Act; (2) acting as a securities dealer, agent, investment adviser, or investment adviser representative in Texas until they are registered with the Securities Commissioner or are acting pursuant to an exemption from registration under the Act; (3) engaging in any fraud in connection with the offer for sale of any security in Texas; and (4) offering securities in Texas through an offer containing a statement that is materially misleading or otherwise likely to deceive the public.

The First Unum/Paul Revere Case
On May 12, 2021, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) entered into a Consent Order with First Unum Life Insurance Company and The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company. The order refers to two "Cybersecurity Events" involving violations of New York State statutes or DFS regulations. The companies will pay a civil monetary penalty of $1.8 million to DFS and meet other requirements.

The Tilford Case
On June 8, 2021, the TSSB issued an Enforcement Action entitled "Richard Gregory Tilford: Convicted." Tilford (of Arlington, Texas) was sentenced to serve 40 years in state prison for engaging in a fraudulent digital marketing investment scheme. He was also sentenced to serve ten years in prison for each of six counts of selling unregistered securities, and ten years in prison for each of six counts of acting as an unregistered dealer. The sentences will run concurrently. Tilford had been indicted in Collin County, Texas, in 2018.

The TSSB Guide
For those interested in cryptocurrencies, I recommend a guide prepared by the TSSB entitled The Investor's Guide to Cryptocurrency Offerings. The guide consists of seven parts: (1) Fiat v. Virtual Currency; (2) How Cryptocurrencies Work; (3) Initial Coin Offerings; (4) Digital Money, Real Risk; (5) Crypto-Scams; (6) Enforcement Actions; and (7) Glossary.