In a recent report by The Guardian, it has been revealed that Sam Lee, an Australian blockchain entrepreneur facing charges of conspiracy to commit fraud in the US for his alleged involvement in a $1.89 billion crypto “Ponzi scheme,” has appeared in a video promoting a new investment project shortly after the charges were filed against him.
The disclosure of Lee’s promotional activities comes as consumer advocates emphasize the alarming losses reported through the Australian-linked crypto investment scheme known as HyperVerse, urging the government to take immediate action to address the issue.
Mastermind Of HyperVerse Scheme Ignores Charges
Following the criminal and civil charges laid against Lee last week for his alleged role in the HyperVerse crypto scheme, the 35-year-old entrepreneur has surfaced in a promotional video on social media endorsing a different project called VEND.
In the video, Lee encourages people to adopt a growth mindset rather than focusing on losses without referencing the charges he is facing in the US.
Additionally, Lee is seen in another video promoting the benefits of being involved in an investment scheme from its inception, specifically mentioning a project called Satoshi Maths Club. Notably, he does not acknowledge the charges against him in these videos.
The promotional video for VEND, which was broadcast on Facebook by a South African promoter on January 30th, showcases Lee claiming that people have been deceiving regulators and urges his followers to continue their journey with him.
Regulatory Loopholes In the Crypto Industry?
According to The Guardian, consumer advocates have deemed the reported losses associated with the HyperVerse scheme as “shocking” and argue that they highlight the urgent need for regulations governing online investment schemes and alleged scams involving cryptocurrencies.
They assert that Australia is currently grappling with a “scams crisis,” and existing regulations fail to protect consumers in the digital age adequately.
Lee, who has denied involvement in the HyperVerse scheme, is alleged to have played a central role in its operation, as stated in US court documents.
Although Lee does not explicitly address the charges against him in the VEND video, the report notes that he “vaguely” alludes to media reports and emphasizes the importance of proving the truth.
The report also highlights the alleged lack of regulation in the crypto industry and the failure of the government to enact laws.
Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg, who chairs a Senate inquiry into the corporate regulator Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), criticizes the regulatory “loophole” in which the HyperVerse scheme operated and underscores the necessity for legislative changes.
Bragg has introduced a private member’s bill on digital asset regulation to address these issues and regulate financial gatekeepers in the industry, enabling regulatory recourse against fraudulent actors. Bragg stated:
The big issue here is actually the lack of crypto regulation and the failure of the government to enact laws. If we had good gatekeeper regulation, it would deal with key personnel tests, capital requirements [and] segregation of customer funds, and then Asic would have a huge amount of tools at its disposal
Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com