The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed charges against an Ohio-based businessman, Michael W. Ackerman, for masterminding a crypto-related scheme that claimed $33 million from at least 150 unsuspecting investors.
Per the SEC announcement on Tuesday, Ackerman and his accomplices, which include a physician, carried out the scheme via two entities, Q3 Trading Club and Q3 I LP, and mainly targeted those in the medical profession.
Ackerman lured investors into believing that he had designed a propitiatory crypto trading algorithm that allowed him to generate massive profits from his trading.
At some point, the SEC alleges that Ackerman created “computer screenshots taken of Q3’s trading account to create the illusion that Q3 was highly invested in cryptocurrencies and was extraordinarily profitable, holding assets of as much as $310 million.”
The release mentioned that at no point did Ackerman have more than $6 million in the trading account. Instead, he spent as much as $7 million on personal needs, such as renovating a house, purchasing high-end jewelry, multiple cars, and paying for private security services.
The SEC is reportedly seeking a permanent injunction, disgorgement plus pre-judgment interest, and a civil penalty for the offense for which Ackerman is charged.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also filed charges against Ackerman arising from similar conduct.