Notable litigation filed during February 2023 includes: (1) Tell v. Modica Microindustries, Inc. and (2) Pelham v. VBit Technologies Corp., et al.
New Complaint – U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Giri, et al.
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Giri, et al., was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on August 11, 2022, claiming violations of several provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and Commission Regulations. Specifically, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) seeks permanent injunctive relief against all Defendants, disgorgement, rescission, and civil penalties.
The CFTC brought this action against Rathnakishore Giri (“Giri”), SR Private Equity, LLC (“SR Private Equity”), NBD Eidetic Capital, LLC (“NBD Eidetic”), Giri Subramani (“Subramani”), and Loka Pavani Giri (“Pavani Giri”) (collectively, “Defendants”) who are alleged to have engaged in a fraudulent scheme to trade digital assets—mainly bitcoin—on behalf of investors. Defendant Giri is a controlling person of both Defendants NBD Eidetic, an Ohio limited liability company, and SR Private Equity, an Ohio limited liability company. Defendants Subramani and Pavani Giri are the parents of Defendant Giri.
The complaint alleges that starting in or around March 2019, Defendant Giri solicited …
Continue Reading New Complaint – U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Giri, et al.
New Complaint – SEC v. Vladimir Okhotnikov, et al.
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Okhotnikov was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on August 1, 2022, claiming violations of several provisions of the Securities Act and Securities Exchange Act in connection with offering and selling unregistered smart contracts operated on the Ethereum, Tron, and Binance blockchains. Specifically, the SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief against all Defendants in order to prevent future violations of the federal securities laws, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains, and civil damages.
The SEC brought the enforcement action against Defendants Vladimir Okhotnikov (“Okhotnikov”), Jane Doe a/k/a Lola Ferrari (“Ferrari”), Mikail Sergeev (“Sergeev”), and Sergey Maslakov (“Maslakov”)—a set of Russia-based individuals who are alleged to have created, operated, and maintained an online pyramid and Ponzi scheme through smart contracts on various blockchains (collectively, the “Founder Defendants”)—and Defendants Samuel D. Ellis (“Ellis”), Mark F. Hamlin (“Hamlin”), and Sarah L. Theissen (“Theissen”) who are individuals alleged to have engaged in the promotion or sale of the smart contracts to investors within the United States (collectively, the “Promoter Defendants”).
The complaint alleges that in the fall of 2019, the Founder Defendants formed Forsage.io (“Forsage”), an unincorporated entity, for the purpose of coding smart contracts on various blockchains and building a website that would serve as an interface for the promotion and sale of the smart contracts. However, the complaint alleges that from January 2020 until the present, Defendants operated, promoted, and maintained an online pyramid and Ponzi scheme through Forsage, allowing millions of retail investors to enter into transactions via the sale of unregistered smart contracts maintained on the Ethereum, Tron, and Binance blockchains. To date, the transactions have totaled over $300 million.…
Continue Reading New Complaint – SEC v. Vladimir Okhotnikov, et al.
Ponzi Perspectives: 2021 Year-End Roundup
McGuireWoods’ Ponzi Litigation team launched its Ponzi Perspectives blog in early 2021 to track key decisions and new cases in Ponzi civil and criminal litigation. Ponzi Perspectives focuses on cases and decisions that have the potential to influence controlling law on Ponzi-related issues. The blog also offers analysis of key decisions and practical considerations when…
New Complaint – Winkler v. Roshak, et al.
Geoff Winkler, as Receiver for Profit Connect Wealth Services, Inc. v. William Roshak, et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada on November 4, 2021 asserting claims for (1) fraudulent transfer; (2) unjust enrichment; (3) declaratory relief; and (4) attorneys’ fees and costs.
Plaintiff is the court-appointed receiver of Profit Connect Wealth Services, Inc. (“Profit Connect”) in an action titled Securities and Exchange Commission v. Profit Connect Wealth Services, Inc., et al., Case No. 21-cv-01298-JAD-BNW (D. Nev.) (the “SEC Action”). Plaintiff was appointed as the Receiver in that matter and granted broad authority to investigate claims and institute actions and legal proceedings on behalf of Profit Connect and its investors. This action is against Defendants William Roshak in his individual capacity and d/b/a/ William George Photography, Melissa Roshak, Tetiana Luzhanska, and Tina M. Leiss, in her sole capacity as the executive officer of the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada (“PERS”).…
New Complaint – Lowry, et al. v. Edelman, et al.
Lowry, et al. v. Edelman, et al. was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on September 21, 2021, claiming securities fraud and various state-law causes of action based on a fraudulent scheme to induce investments in cryptocurrency and then embezzle those investments.
Continue Reading New Complaint – Lowry, et al. v. Edelman, et al.