The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Cyber Unit, created in September 2017 to enhance the agency’s ability to pursue cyber-related threats and crimes, recently filed charges in an Initial Coin Offering fraud scheme, the unit’s first filing since its creation.
The charges were filed against Dominic Lacroix and his company, PlexCorps, for selling securities called PlexCoin on the internet, claiming that investors would receive a 1,354 percent profit in less than 29 days. According to an SEC press release, Lacroix is a recidivist Quebec securities law violator. Lacroix’s partner, Sabrina Paradis-Royer, was also charged in connection with the scheme
“This first Cyber Unit case hits all of the characteristics of a full-fledged cyber scam and is exactly the kind of misconduct the unit will be pursuing,” said Robert Cohen, chief of the Cyber Unit. “We acted quickly to protect retail investors from this initial coin offering’s false promises.”
According to the SEC press release, the Cyber Unit is designed to address crimes involving distributed ledger technology and initial coin offerings, the spread of false information through electronic and social media, and hacking and threats to trading platforms.
“Cyber-related threats and misconduct are among the greatest risks facing investors and the securities industry,” Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said of the unit’s formation in September. “The Cyber Unit will enhance our ability to detect and investigate cyber threats through increasing expertise in an area of critical national importance.”
Based on the Cyber Unit’s charges, the SEC has obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of PlexCorps, Lacroix and Paradis-Royer.