In a statement from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), an emergency relief action was filed to shut down AriseBank, which it described as “an outright scam.”
In a growing list of enforcement actions by the SEC, the complaint against AriseBank stated that the Dallas-based company had used deceptive tactics to raise what they claim was $600 million of its $1 billion goal in just two months. Co-founders Jared Rice Sr. and Stanley Ford are being charged with alleged fraud and issuing unregistered securities during its ICO.
On January 18, 2018, AriseBank had announced the purchase of two FDIC-insured banks, KFMC Bank Holding Company and TPBG, neither of which exist. AriseBank also offered customers an AriseBank-branded VISA card to spend any of the 700-plus cryptocurrencies using their purported algorithmic trading application that automatically trades in various cryptocurrencies, in addition to allegedly failing to disclose the criminal background of key executives.
Co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, Stephanie Avakian, said, “We allege that AriseBank and its principals sought to raise hundreds of millions from investors by misrepresenting the company as a first-of-its-kind decentralized bank offering its own cryptocurrency to be used for a broad range of customer products and services.”
Avakian continued, “We sought emergency relief to prevent investors from being victimized by what we allege to be an outright scam.”
AriseBank had recently announced it was teaming up with boxing legend Evander Holyfield to help raise money for disaster preparedness. Now, however, a cease-and-desist order has been executed, their office and executives homes have been raided, their assets have been seized, their website is down and their ICO has been stopped.
SEC co-director, Steven Peikin, said, “This is the first time the Commission has sought the appointment of a receiver in connection with an ICO fraud. We will use all of our tools and remedies to protect investors from those who engage in fraudulent conduct in the emerging digital securities marketplace.”