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Court: United States District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles
Description: Los Angeles, California criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with wire fraud.
Michael Alan Stollery, 54, of Reseda, California, touted TBIS – a purported cryptocurrency investment platform – as a cryptocurrency investment opportunity, luring investors to purchase “BARs,” the cryptocurrency token or coin offered by TBIS’s ICO, through a series of false and misleading statements. Although he was required to do so, Stollery did not register the ICO regarding TBIS’s cryptocurrency investment offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), nor did he have a valid exemption from the SEC’s registration requirements.
To entice investors, Stollery falsified aspects of TBIS’s white papers, which purportedly offered investors and prospective investors an explanation of the cryptocurrency investment offering, including the purpose and technology behind the offering, how the offering was different from other cryptocurrency opportunities, and the prospects for the offering’s profitability. Stollery also planted fake client testimonials on TBIS’s website and falsely claimed that he had business relationships with the Federal Reserve and dozens of prominent companies to create the false appearance of legitimacy. Stollery did not use the invested money as promised but instead commingled the ICO investors’ funds with his personal funds, using at least a portion of the offering proceeds for expenses unrelated to TBIS, such as credit card payments and the payment of bills for his Hawaii condominium.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Cory Nootnagel of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Western Region, made the announcement.
The FBI Los Angeles Field Office and the Federal Reserve Board OIG Western Region, San Francisco Office investigated the case.
Trial Attorneys Tian Huang and Andrew Tyler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 4 years and three months in prison.