by Cindy Huynh
On May 15, 2018, the Texas State Securities Board entered into an emergency cease-and-desist order against cryptocurrency investment firm Wind Wide Coin for illegal, deceptive, and fraudulent behavior.
Blowing in the Wind Wide Coin Scam
The Houston-based firm was illegally offering a securitized cryptocurrency program while engaging in misleading practices. These included false endorsements from high profile celebrities, members of the royal family, and politicians like Jennifer Aniston, Prince Charles, and former Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.
Furthermore, Wind Wide Coin claimed that it was a corporation with a business address in Houston, Texas. However, upon further inspection, Wind Wide Coin has not yet filed with the Texas Security of State and therefore, is not authorized to transact business in the state as a corporation. The cryptocurrency firm has also provided investors with a fake address, one that does not exist.
Unfortunately, it isn’t the first time Texas regulators had to step in to stop misleading and fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes. Over the last year, they found some companies including LeadInvest and BTCRUSH that have used similar tactics to promote illegal and fraudulent cryptocurrency investment programs.
While the company names and products may vary, these Ponzi schemes often promise lucrative returns and manipulate media, photographs, and testimonials to deceive the general public.
Wind Wide Coin’s Deceptive Cryptocurrency Program
According to Wind Wide Coin’s website, the Houston-based cryptocurrency firm employs “Bitcoin and Ethereum trading professionals” and uses an “automatic trading bot” to offer “a highly profitable investment for everyone.” The website also mentioned that returns paid to investors are contingent upon the amount of their principal deposit.
The Houston-based cryptocurrency firm also used misleading language to trick investors. They used terms like “will get income,” it is “100 [percent] sure” and also state that “there is no risk” and that investors “can’t lose money.” Despite not being registered as a corporation, Wind Wide Coin stated that they are “ a company, so your investment is safe.”
Alongside these claims, Wind Wide Coin also published a picture and false testimonial of the Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Charles Philip Arthur George while identifying him as “Mark Robert.” Other well-known figures like actress Jennifer Aniston were also involved.
Like Prince Charles, she was also falsely identified as “Kate Jennifer,” while the former Prime Minister of Finland was falsely identified as “Niinisto Ann.” These three false images are followed by fake testimonials, claiming that they are happy clients of Wind Wide Coin.
(Source: Wind Wide Coin)
The deceptive cryptocurrency investment program had also intentionally failed to disclose the identity, background, and qualifications of the directors. They also did not contain sufficient information for investors to evaluate the business’ reputation and falsified the proper business address. There was also no information concerning the assets, liabilities, and capitalization of the company.
Investors Should Remain Wary of Cryptocurrency Scams
Just earlier in 2018, Texas regulators discovered that cryptocurrency firm LeadInvest used a photograph of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg while BTCRUSH used false videos to represent three cryptocurrency mining farms.
While features like false celebrity endorsements, overly optimistic language, and failure to disclose vital information, should raise red flags for any investor, according to Investopedia, $9 million is lost each day in cryptocurrency scams. In the first two months of 2018, $1.36 billion have already been lost to fraudsters.