The Securities and Exchange Commission has continued to prioritize ICO fraud in recent enforcement actions. In today’s action against Tomahawk Exploration LCC and its founder David Laurance, the SEC pointed to the danger of traditional fraud schemes, such as a oil and gas investment schemes, dressed up as an ICO. As a result of the SEC’s enforcement action, Laurance consented to a permanent officer and director bar, penny stock bar, and a $30,000 penalty.
The SEC is currently in the midst of a crackdown on unregistered ICOs, armed with a skeptical view of so-called “utility tokens” and “blockchain” business models. The SEC has taken the public position that all digital tokens sold in an ICO are securities, and therefore are regulated by the SEC.
When contacted by the SEC it may be essential to obtain advice from experienced defense counsel that have specific knowledge of securities enforcement laws and white collar criminal laws. Government investigations have many pitfalls for the unwary and require skilled hands to navigate.