CRYPTOCURRENCIES

CFTC charges 3 accused of pocketing $15M via investment scams

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charged two individuals from the Israel-based marketing company Digital Platinum Limited, and one individual from the United States-based marketing company All In Publishing, with options fraud and Commodity Trading Advisor fraud. Together, the three individuals worked to defraud unsuspecting individuals out of about $15 million through a binary options and a digital asset platform.

False advertising

Digital Platinum and All In Publishing defrauded investors through a variety of false advertising campaigns. In these campaigns, the marketers promoted fake success stories that encouraged the users who viewed them to sign up for a binary options platform and a digital asset platform that supposedly made the individuals in the advertisements rich.

As a result of these advertising campaigns, the firms were able tFo get 51,917 new users to sign up for a binary options platform and deposit roughly $13 million; and 8,093 new users to sign up for a digital asset platform and deposit roughly $2 million.

According to court documents, the firms spent up to $50,000 to produce videos that showcased rags to riches stories. The court document states, “one such email from September 2015 revealed that AIP spent over $50,000 on the sales video and used the “best copywriter money can buy (think movie scripts/infomercial status).” 

The criminals

The CFTC has pressed charges against the three main actors at these companies: Daniel Fingerhut from All in Publishing; Tal Valariola, vice president of Digital Platinum; and Itay Barak, co-founder of Digital Platinum.

Among their charges are options fraud and Commodity Trading Advisory fraud. In addition, the CFTC is looking to impose a number of injunctions against the three that will prevent them from doing any sort of commodities-related business activities again. 

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