August 24, 2022
The SEC charged 11 individuals for their roles in creating and promoting Forsage, a fraudulent crypto pyramid and Ponzi scheme.
Vladimir Okhotnikov, Jane Doe a/k/a Lola Ferrari, Mikhail Sergeev, and Sergey Maslakov launched Forsage.io, a website that allowed retail investors to enter into smart contracts that operated on the Ethereum, Tron, and Binance blockchains. However, Forsage has allegedly operated as a pyramid scheme in which investors earned profits by recruiting others. Forsage also allegedly used assets from new investors to pay earlier investors. The scheme raised more than $300 million from retail investors.
In addition to charging the four founders, the complaint, filed in United States District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, also charges Cheri Beth Bowen, of Pelahatchie, Miss., Ronald R. Deering, of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, Samuel D. Ellis, of Louisville, Ky., Mark F. Hamlin, of Henrico, Va., Carlos L. Martinez, of Chicago, Ill., Alisha R. Shepperd, of Dunedin, Fla., and Sarah L. Theissen, of Hartford, Wis.
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