Lindsay Lohan, others hit with SEC charges for endorsing cryptocurrencies

Lindsay Lohan attends MTV’s “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club” series premiere party at Magic Hour Rooftop at The Moxy Times Square on Jan. 7, 2019, in New York. (Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

(KTLA) — Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul and rapper Lil Yachty are among the eight celebrities who have agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars to settle claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission that they illegally touted cryptocurrencies and violated security laws.

Other celebrities charged include rapper Soulja Boy, Austin Mahone, Ne-Yo, Akon, and adult film star Kendra Lust, a news release said.

The SEC is charging the celebrities because they didn’t disclose that they were paid for their endorsements of Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT), cryptocurrencies created by entrepreneur Justin Sun.

None admitted or denied the SEC’s findings as part of the settlement. Soulja Boy and Austin Mahone did not reach a settlement with the SEC, the agency said.

In response to a request for comment, Lohan’s publicist Leslie Sloane said the actress was contacted in March 2022, was unaware of the disclosure requirement, and agreed to pay a fine to resolve the matter. Lohan, who last week announced she is pregnant, was called to give up the $10,000 she was paid, plus interest, and pay a $30,000 fine, according to an SEC complaint.

A spokeswoman for Paul declined to comment. Emails left with representatives for the other celebrities named in the SEC complaint weren’t immediately returned Wednesday.

Sun was also charged with “fraudulently manipulating the secondary market for TRX through extensive wash trading, which involves the simultaneous or near-simultaneous purchase and sale of a security to make it appear actively traded without an actual change in beneficial ownership, and for orchestrating a scheme to pay celebrities to tout TRX and BTT without disclosing their compensation.”

The SEC claims Sun and his companies targeted investors and generated millions in illegal proceeds.

“This case demonstrates again the high-risk investors face when crypto asset securities are offered and sold without proper disclosure,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement.

Other celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, paid over $1 million to settle SEC charges, while former football player Tom Brady and comedian Larry David were named in a class-action lawsuit against cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

In 2020, actor Steven Seagal agreed to pay more than $300,000 as part of a similar settlement with the SEC, which also banned him from promoting investments for three years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

West

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