SEC Charges Online Marketers for Promoting “Get Rich Quick” Binary Options Trading Scheme
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges earlier today against several digital marketing professionals accused of promoting a “rags to riches” binary options trading scheme online through a series of infomercials.
The marketers allegedly targeted retirees and retail investors, using infomercials to convince victims to open brokerage accounts and begin trading high-risk securities known as binary options.
Binary options trading is a controversial type of securities trading that essentially involves betting on the price of an asset over a short period of time. Will the price of gold go up or down in the next 30 seconds? If you can consistently answer that question accurately, then you can make a fortune through binary options trading. Of course, nobody really knows where the market is going to go, and that’s why binary options trading is frequently seen as a scam or gambling.
In certain countries – like Canada – it’s illegal for companies to offer any type of binary options trading services to clients. Binary options trading remains legal, however, across America and in many other countries worldwide.
The SEC announced the charges earlier today, releasing a statement claiming that investors were “conned out of tens of millions of dollars” through marketing campaigns launched by the alleged criminals.
Investors were told that they “would make large amounts of money by opening binary options accounts and using free or secret software systems to trade in them.”
We’ve seen plenty of similar scams on the internet over the past few years. These scams claim that investors can get rich quick by signing up for a binary options brokerage account and then using special automated trading software to generate enormous returns. The magical trading software makes consistently smart trades on your behalf, then generates huge ROIs. Of course, it’s all a complete scam.
The marketers received a commission for each new brokerage account. The first few individuals charged in this latest scheme have already paid $4.1 million to the SEC as part of a settlement.
The binary options marketers targeted victims through “spam emails”, according to the SEC. They also “used actors to portray ordinary people who became millionaires by trading binary options.” Investors were shown videos of ordinary people using the binary options trading software to generate millions of dollars online.
“As alleged in our complaints, thousands of retail investors were swindled out of tens of millions of dollars by watching elaborately produced rags-to-riches stories that falsely promised wealth at the push of a button,” said Melissa Hodgman, Associate Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.
“Those who use phony tactics to dupe investors out of their savings will be held accountable for false and misleading statements on the internet.”
10 individuals and two companies have been charged by the SEC for their involvement in the fraudulent marketing campaigns. The charged individuals include Timothy J. Atkinson, Ronald “Ronnie” Montano, Jay Passerino, Michael Wright, and All In Publishing LLC.
Other marketers mentioned in the complaint include Justin Blake Barrett, William E. Berry and his company Berry Mediaworks, Grayson Brookshire, Antonio Giacca, Shmuel Pollen, and Travis Stephenson. All of these individuals have agreed to settle the SEC’s charges. They have collectively paid a combined total of $4.1 million in disgorgement and prejudgement interest stemming from the charges.
Ultimately, binary options trading can be done legally. However, in too many cases, binary options trading has become associated with online scams, get rich quick schemes, and other ploys targeting susceptible investors. Clearly, the SEC is pushing back against online marketers who choose to deceive people with fraudulent campaigns. You can view the full SEC statement here.