The order resolves an action brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission against Jeremy Spence, who earlier this year pleaded guilty to running a Ponzi scheme in which he solicited individuals to invest in digital assets including bitcoin and ether from December 2017 through April 2019.
"Spence's solicitations-which, as described below, were rife with fraud, lies, and deceit-were successful," the court's consent order read. "During the Relevant Period, Spence obtained virtual currencies such as bitcoin and ether worth more than approximately $5 million at the time from individual customers comprising approximately 175 user accounts."
Jeremy Spence had already been sentenced to 42 months of jailtime in May of this year.
CFTC Commissioner Kristin Johnson put out a concurrent statement on the order and praised the CFTC's enforcement although she said that more regulatory authority for the agency was needed. A regulatory gap, she wrote, "currently limits our visibility into digital trading markets."
Johnson's remarks come as the CFTC is working with the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees the commission, to push forward legislation that would give it more direct reporting from crypto commodities exchanges, a process that has become more fraught since the implosion of crypto exchange FTX. As Johnson pointed out weeks ago to defend her agency, the entity within the FTX corporate network that the CFTC does regulate directly, LedgerX, has remained solvent. Also on December 1, CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee about similar concerns of regulatory gaps.