Recent research by the Wall Street Journal published Dec. 27 revealed that hundreds of cryptocurrency offerings showed signs of fraudulent activity, improbable returns and plagiarism.

In the course of its research, the WSJ downloaded “white papers” of 3,291 cryptocurrency projects that announced an initial coin offering (ICO) from three websites — ICOBench.com, Tokendata.io and ICORating.com.

A white paper is an informational document issued by a company that describes the company’s position, team biography, and technical specifics of a project, and is designed to be used as a marketing tool for potential investors.

The reporters further conducted an analysis of the documents, excluding duplicate and non-English papers:

“To identify duplicate language, the Journal compared sentences with at least 10 unique words to every other sentence in other white papers. Reporters then read and reviewed nearly 10,000 sentences appearing more than once among the 3,291 papers analyzed and removed technical and legal sounding language. Then, the Journal compared reported offering dates to determine which document first published any given sentence and excluded those projects from this database.”

The analysis reportedly indicated that 16 percent — or 513 — of the aforementioned white papers showed signs of plagiarism, identity theft and promises of implausible returns. White papers of more than 2,000 of the 3,291 projects contained sentences with luring terms such as “nothing to lose, guaranteed profit, return on investment, highest return, high return, funds profit, no risk and little risk.”

State and federal regulators in the United States have previously cracked down on various offerings with similar language, issuing cease and desist orders and at times filing charges against alleged offenders.

Additionally, the WSJ tried to identify fake team members by reverse image search of photos of people associated with 343 crypto projects, which did not cite key data about team members. Some documents did not list team members at all, so the Journal searched for names appearing in a list of over one million managed by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In August, the WSJ claimed in a study that cryptocurrency price manipulation was largely conducted by organized “trading groups” using services such as Telegram. The WSJ suggested that coordinated “pump and dump” schemes had seen traders inflate and crash the prices of various cryptocurrencies this year.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

U.S. citizen Joseph Kim of Phoenix, Arizona has been fined $1.1 million and sentenced to 15 months in jail for misappropriating Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) from several people, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) reports Friday, Nov. 9.

The CFTC found out that Kim defrauded his employer, a Chicago-based proprietary trading firm, transferring approximately $601,000 worth amount of BTC and LTC to his own accounts in 2017. When asked about missing cryptocurrencies, Kim falsely claimed that security issues made him transfer digital currencies to several accounts. Shortly after, the misappropriation was discovered and Kim was fired.

Kim reportedly then defrauded private investors in order to return funds to his employer. According to the CFTC, he lured around $545,000 worth of cryptocurrencies from five individuals, falsely stating that he had left the company voluntarily to start his own trading company. Kim later lost all the investors’ funds following a high-risk bet.

Given the circumstances of the case, the CFTC has ordered Kim to pay $1.1 million in restitution to his company and customers. Moreover, the commission has imposed a permanent trading and solicitation ban on him.

In a separate criminal action brought by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Kim pleaded guilty to defrauding his employer and misappropriating private investors’ funds, and has received a 15 month sentence.

The CFTC Director of Enforcement, James McDonald, says the commission will continue to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the FBI in order to prevent crypto-related crimes.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Zachary Coburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDelta, with operating an unregistered securities exchange. He agreed to pay up to $400,000 in fines for an 18 month operating period.

This post is credit to cointelegraph