The cryptocurrency world is nearing the end of one of its darkest – and to some extent, weirdest – chapters as the SEC agreed to a settlement of more than $12 million from defendants Joshua Jeppesen, Michael Noble, and Laura Mascola, accused of being a key part of Bitconnect, the most famous Ponzi scheme in the history of the crypto sphere.
According to an official announcement by the SEC, Jeppesen and Noble were processed as defendants. Laura Mascola, Jeppesen’s partner, was being processed as a relief defendant.
A $12 Million Settlement For a $2.5 Billion Scam
The SEC introduced a Complaint on May 28, 2021, against Jeppesen, Noble, and Mascola. On the same document, the agency included other names like Ryan Maasen, Graig Grant, and the more popular Trevon Jones.
The settlement does not include the latest three names, which means there still are some files opened, and the investigation has not ceased. In fact, the FBI is still collecting as much information as possible even to this day.
The SEC explains that it asked for Bitcoin and American dollars as two separate payment methods:
“On August 13, 2021, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a judgment against Michael Noble (a.k.a. Michael Crypto) and a final judgment against Joshua Jeppesen for their involvement with BitConnect and the promotion of its “lending program.” The court also entered a final judgment against Laura Mascola as a relief defendant. Pursuant to the judgments, the defendants and relief defendant have been ordered to collectively pay more than $3.5 million and 190 Bitcoin in disgorgement and prejudgment interest.”
The financial settlement was agreed as follows:
- Jeppesen shall pay $3,039,485 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest, 190 Bitcoin in disgorgement, and a $150,000 penalty. He also must provide access to a Bitcoin wallet to satisfy his obligation to pay the owed compensation in crypto.
- Michael Nobble shall pay an undetermined amount for disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. A court will later determine the amount.
- Mascola shall pay $576,358 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest.
What Was Bitconnect?
Bitconnect is perhaps the most well-known Ponzi scheme in the crypto world. During its peak between late 2017 and early 2018, it went on to accumulate a market capitalization of $2.5 billion, placing it comfortably inside the Top 10 cryptocurrencies just as Bitcoin was flirting with $20,000.
It became world-famous for its aggressive marketing campaign, its referral program, its promises of high returns… and for having the most cringy and funny presentation of all time: the famous meme starring Latino host Carlos Matos.
The pyramid collapsed in January 2018, when different state agencies in the United States issued cease and desist orders, labeling the project a scam, something that other countries replicated.
It is currently a dead project. But the meme remains alive.