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Court freezes $8M of proceeds from allegedly fraudulent coin offering

The Securities and Exchange Commission said a federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Aug. 12 ordered an emergency freeze on at least $8 million out of $14.8 million in proceeds defendants raised from an allegedly fraudulent coin offering.

The regulator charged Reginald Middleton and the two entities he controls, Veritaseum Inc. and Veritaseum LLC, with trying to defraud investors by misleading them about the companies' prior business venture, the demand for the tokens and the use of offering proceeds, and claiming to have a product that can generate revenue in marketing the VERI tokens, among other things. The SEC also alleged Middleton manipulated the price of the tokens, which were purportedly trading on an unregistered digital asset platform, and transferred a portion of investor assets to his personal account.

The SEC is seeking to bar Middleton as an officer and a director. The regulator is also seeking disgorgement plus interest and penalties, and to ban defendants from offering digital securities.

Veritaseum Inc. said it uses blockchain technology to help industries struggling with various operational inefficiencies, and the company brands itself as a "gateway to peer-to-peer capital markets," according to its website.