On June 18,2019, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced it had initiated a civil enforcement action against a now-defunct cryptocurrency trading and investment company for misappropriating $147 million worth of Bitcoin. The Complaint charges the defendants—Control-Finance Limited and its principal, Benjamin Reynolds—with exploiting public enthusiasm for crypto assets by fraudulently obtaining and misappropriating at least 22,858.822 Bitcoin from more than 1,000 customers through a classic (HYIP) Ponzi scheme called the Control-Finance Affiliate Program. Between May 2017 and October 2017, Reynolds used a public website, various social media accounts, and email communications to solicit at least 22,190.542 bitcoin, valued at approximately $143 million at the time, from more than 1,000 customers worldwide, including at least 169 individuals residing in the U.S.
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