SEC Files Charges Against Ohio-Based Business For Running A $33M Cryptocurrency Fraud

  • Michael W. Ackerman along with two business partners defrauded about 150 investors including physicians
  • Ackerman allegedly used $7.5 million of investor funds to personally enrich himself
  • SEC’s complaint charges Ackerman with violation of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities law

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against an Ohio-based businessman, Michael W. Ackerman on Tuesday who allegedly orchestrated a cryptocurrency scheme to defraud about 150 investors including many physicians.

Ackerman along with his two business partners raised at least $33 million by claiming that he had developed an algorithm that can generate “extraordinary profits while trading in cryptocurrencies.”

One of the partners was also a physician who defrauded other physicians, taking advantage of a common profession. The victims particularly made investments in two entities, Q3 I LP and A3 Trading Club when introduced to the digital currency investment opportunity, as per the SEC complaint.

Exploiting popular interest in digital assets

The complaint alleges that Ackerman misled investors about the digital currency performance, use of investor funds, and the safety of these funds. The perpetrator is also accused of doctoring computer screenshots of Q3’s trading account to show it extraordinarily profitable.

The doctored screenshots also created the illusion that the account was heavily invested in digital currencies, holding assets of as much as $310 million when in reality there was no more than $6 million.

“As alleged in our complaint, Ackerman lured investors, many in the medical profession, into falsely believing that he generated extraordinary profits from his algorithmic trading strategy,” said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office.

“Ackerman exploited popular interest in digital assets as a means to obtain millions of dollars for his personal use.”

Ackerman is accused of using $7.5 million of investor funds to personally enrich himself that included purchasing and renovating a house, purchasing multiple cars, high-end jewelry and pay for personal security services.

Filed in federal court in New York, the SEC’s complaint charges Ackerman with violation of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities law and seeks a permanent injunction, civil penalty, and disgorgement plus prejudgment interest.

The case is currently under investigation and apart from SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has also filed charges against Ackerman for similar conduct.

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