The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that it has asked a U.S. district court to enforce a subpoena as part of a probe into alleged pump-and-dump tactics that involved claims of a $100 million initial coin offering (ICO).
According to the October 9 statement, officials at the U.S. regulator are investigating Saint James Holding and Investment Company Trust and its trustee, Jeffre James, months after the agency first moved to suspend trading in penny-stock company Cherubim Interests, Inc.
The SEC explained that it believes Cherubim lied to investors about its claims around the so-called SJTCoin, which it said in January was “designed for cooperative living, working and healthier lives and offers extensible diversity in the use of the coin over current coins like Bitcoins for both financial and societal gain.”
The agency said in its Tuesday statement:
“Based on its ongoing, nonpublic investigation, the SEC has reason to believe that to ‘pump’ its stock price, Cherubim issued false public statements in January 2018 claiming that the company had executed a $100,000,000 financing commitment to launch an initial coin offering (‘ICO’) for St. James Trust. After Cherubim’s stock price and trading volume increased on this news, certain individuals associated with the company may have ‘dumped’ their overvalued Cherubim stock for significant profits.”
Yet to date, James and the St. James Trust have yet to respond to the subpoena, despite “personally [serving] James with copies of the subpoenas.”
“The SEC’s application seeks an order from the court compelling James and St. James Trust to produce all responsive documents,” the agency said.
At the start of the year, the SEC made waves as it moved to scrutinize a number of small-cap stocks that rode a wave of public interest around blockchain, having warned in August 2017 that it would seek to punish public companies that use ICO-related claims to hoodwink investors.