The U.S. Department of Justice announced today that Michael Stollery, the CEO of Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services (TBIS), has pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme that brought in $21 million through a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO).
According to the DOJ, Stollery called the scheme a “cryptocurrency investment opportunity,” luring investors to purchase the firm’s BAR token through a series of false and misleading statements.
The DOJ also says Stollery failed to register TBIS’s offering, as required.
“Stollery did not register the ICO regarding TBIS’s cryptocurrency investment offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), nor did he have a valid exemption from the SEC’s registration requirements,” the DOJ wrote.
In its own 2018 complaint, the SEC said Stollery's scheme managed to raise as much as $21 million in Ether, Bitcoin, and cash from dozens of investors located in at least 18 states and abroad.
Stollery pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud. In addition to running an unregistered ICO, the agency says Stollery admitted using investor funds to pay credit card bills and bills for his Hawaii condominium.
The agency says Stollery admitted to exaggerating the potential profitability of the token, falsifying aspects of TBIS’ white papers, planting fake client testimonials, and claiming a relationship with prominent businesses and the Federal Reserve on the company’s website.
If convicted, Stollery could face up to 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 18, 2022.
Federal regulators have become increasingly active in the crypto space. Last week, the Department of Justice and SEC filed separate charges against Ishan Wahi, a former Coinbase project manager, and two others for alleged insider trading.