Trial of Centra Tech Founders Moved to September

Trial of Centra Tech Founders Moved to September

Centra Tech, the company whose Initial Coin Offering (ICO) was promoted by boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr., will have its day in court later this year.

Earlier this week, a district court announced in a press release that the trial of the project’s operators, Sohrab Sharma and Robert Farkas, has now been moved from April 27 to September 3, 2020. 

Coronavirus Concerns Push the Date Into Fall 

The move is due to coronavirus concerns. Several dates across the country have been forced to limit activities as much as possible, and District Judge Lorna Schofield is hoping to minimize risks at this time. However, the judge also pointed out that November 12 will be a tentative back up trial date, as she explained that possible rescheduling could be on the cards as a result of the virus. 

The two suspects were arrested back in May 2018 with Raymond Trapani, Centra Tech’s co-founder. At the time, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had charged them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and the commissioning of illegal securities through their ICO. 

They were also found to have made substantial misrepresentations and exclusions in their official filing, as Centra Tech itself made some false claims about some of its partnerships with major companies to swindle investors. Apart from the misrepresentations, they were also found to have created fake identities and forged credentials for their company to make it look legitimate. 

In an investigation, the investigative agency found that they had up to 91,000 ETH tokens – valued at over $60 million at the time.  

Celebrities and Their History with Fake ICOs

Mayweather wasn’t the only person involved with the ICO – there was also DJ Khaled, the famous hip hop artist, and disk jockey. Both men were sued by Centra Tech’s investors after the firm’s fraudulent nature was revealed, with many investors explaining that they were spurred to make investments after seeing their social media posts. 

Mayweather was cited for having promoted Centra Tech and its token sale on Twitter, with a post of him holding the firm’s debit card and a caption of him endorsing their ICO.

The judge eventually dropped the case against both of them, explaining that the plaintiffs hadn’t shown enough proof to tie their investment actions to the celebrities’ posts. The judge also found that two of the plaintiffs had made their investments before Khaled or Mayweather made any post for the firm via their social media.

Theirs was one of the first cases of celebrities being roped into fraudulent ICOs. Since then, several other notable names have been charged with advertising for these fraudulent schemes. 

Earlier this month, Tip “TI” Harris, another hip hop artist, was let off the hook for the work he did with FLiK. T.I and comedian Kevin Hart were sued by investors of the fraudulent scheme back in 2018, as the plaintiffs claimed to have lost a total of $1.3 million to the firm. Harris was eventually charged with state securities fraud.

However, the U.S. Court of Northern Georgia explained in a filing that while the rapper had promoted the project, he hadn’t made any material misrepresentations of the token’s value. 

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