Martial arts movie star Steven Seagal on Thursday settled charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission for not disclosing to potential investors the payments he received for promoting an investment in an initial coin offering called “Bitcoiin2gen,” or B2G.
Seagal failed to inform investors that he was promised $250,000 in cash and $750,000 worth of B2G in exchange for promoting the offering.
Using social media, Seagal encouraged the public not to “miss out” on investing in B2G, and he endorsed the coin wholeheartedly. There was also a press release that stated, “Zen master Steven Seagal has become the brand ambassador of Bitcoiin2gen.”
These promotions occurred after the SEC determined that the sale of initial offers of these coins may be considered securities and that individuals who receive consideration to promote them must disclose this fact to potential investors.
“These investors were entitled to know about payments Seagal received or was promised to endorse this investment so they could decide whether he may be biased,” said Kristina Littman, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, in prepared remarks when announcing the settlement with Seagal. “Celebrities are not allowed to use their social media influence to tout securities without appropriately disclosing their compensation.”
The action icon agreed to pay over $300,000 in fines and penalties. He also agreed not to promote any security for three years.