New Jersey Regulator Issues Cease-and-Desist Against Three Scammers
- A New Jersey regulator has issued a cease-and-desist order for three website operators to prevent people from falling for their fraud schemes.
- The Bureau of Securities issued closing orders to Meta Capitals Limited, Cresttrademining Limited, and Forex Market Trade.
- All three firms allegedly presented themselves as crypto trading platforms, persuading people to invest in their fraud schemes.
- These companies attracted victims by using the “pig butchering” scheme to approach people with romantic interests on dating apps like Tinder.
Regulators around the globe have become very active after a huge surge in crypto scams and attacks in 2022. Interestingly, in light of similar events, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities has recently issued a cease-and-desist order for three website operators to prevent attractive, romance-seeking people from falling for their fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes.
As per a press release shared by New Jersey’s Attorney General Matthew Platkin, the three companies hit by the closing orders are Meta Capitals Limited, Cresttrademining Limited, and Forex Market Trade. The regulator asked the companies “to stop offering fraudulent cryptocurrency investments in violation of the New Jersey Securities Law.”
All three firms allegedly presented themselves as crypto trading platforms, where they persuaded customers to copy the trades of their “expert traders” in order to make massive gains.
According to the Bureau of Securities, these companies attracted victims by using the “pig butchering” scheme to approach people with romantic interests on dating apps like Tinder. They omitted or misrepresented that fees or charges would be imposed before fund withdrawals. Moreover, they did not clearly display any material facts, such as the identity of their principals, how investors’ funds would be used, and the risks of their investment plans.
The press release further revealed that all three firms posted fake testimonials from clients that used stock photos and canned statements. According to the bureau, it was also discovered that these firms had offered and sold unregistered securities in violation of New Jersey securities laws. Additionally, it was found that Meta Capitals Limited and Cresttrademining Limited also function as unlicensed broker-dealers.
Highlighting the authorities’ continuous efforts to protect New Jersey residents from getting lured into the investment scam, Platkin stated:
“These scammers build up a sense of comradery between them and their victim—all to squeeze every cent they possibly can out of these people with promises of huge returns on investments. We are working around the clock to protect the victims of these types of scams and to show these scammers our laws still apply in cyberspace.”
The bureau’s consumer affairs department also hopes that the enforcement actions will clearly send a message that they will “pursue scammers who prey on people’s trust,” according to the division’s acting director, Cari Fais.
It is important to note that alone in 2021, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation reported around 4,300 victims losing a total of $429 million to pig butcher scams.
The head of the Bureau of Securities, Amy Kopleton, stated that the “pig butcher” scam is effective for scammers since their target victims are already in a vulnerable condition:
“Even the savviest of investors can have a hard time recognizing fraud when it’s being perpetrated by someone for whom they have a romantic interest.”
Scams involving pig butchers aren’t just happening in the US. A recent investigation revealed that about half of the 168 forex companies that the United Kingdom Bureau of Investigative Journalism believed to be involved in fraudulent activity, were linked to scams similar to pig butchering. As reported earlier by Bitnation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that fraudsters are using crypto ATMs as a new method of receiving funds obtained from their victims.