It has been quite a busy year for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the institution has been relentless in its crypto crackdown efforts which has targeted major cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance, Kraken and most recently Bitterex which has been charged with operating an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange, brokerage as well as a clearing agency, all charges were initially filed in April of this year and since then the company has resolved to moving forward with a $24 million settlement.
Bitterex had previously faced federal charges from the U.S department back in October 2022 which resulted in a double settlement of $29 million and $24 million, later announcing in March 2023 that it would be shutting down operations in the United State and subsequently filed for bankruptcy in May.
Bitterex, as well as its international wing, Bitterex Global are now jointly set to pay $14.4 million in disgorgement, $5.6 million in civil penalties for the resolution of the legal dispute with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and $4 million in prejudgment interest. The co-founder and former CEO of the company, William Shihara who left the company in 2019 but was summoned by the U.S court for this case, agreed to pay the settlement without conceding the allegations leveled against the company.
The company which has been in operation since 2014 was further accused of attempting to get rid of online statements which would prove several investment contracts were made with the company in order to evade legal penalties.
SEC’s, Gurbir Grewal has this to say during the court proceedings;
“You cannot escape liability by simply changing labels or altering descriptions because what matters is the economic realities of those descriptions.”
The scourge of unlicensed exchanges and brokers has been a prolonged threat to the cryptoverse with millions of dollars lost by investors to these companies which either abscond with investor funds or go bankrupt and are unable to refund funds invested by individuals who have entrusted their funds into their platforms. Unfortunately, a lot of individuals who lose all or some of their savings and earnings this way are ill informed as to the correct procedures required to reclaim their invested or lost funds. Individuals who have lost their capital as a result of Bitterex’ bankruptcy as well as victims of other fraudulent or unlicensed exchanges and brokers are advised to request a free consultation in order to gain access to a robust team of legal and technical fund/asset reclaim experts to get their finances back on track.