The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged eight celebrities, including actress Lindsay Lohan, with illegally promoting crypto.
The SEC announced the charges against Lohan and seven others on Wednesday, saying they touted the crypto asset securities Tronix and/or BitTorrent "without disclosing that they were compensated for doing so and the amount of their compensation." The other celebrities who were charged are YouTuber Jake Paul, rappers Soulja Boy and Lil Yachty, adult film star Michele Mason (a.k.a. Kendra Lust), and singers Austin Mahone, Ne-Yo, and Akon.
The SEC also announced charges against entrepreneur Justin Sun, who allegedly "[orchestrated] a scheme to pay celebrities to tout TRX and BTT without disclosing their compensation" and was also charged with the "unregistered offer and sale of crypto asset securities" and fraudulent manipulation of the market. SEC Chair Gary Gensler said Sun "induced investors to purchase TRX and BTT by orchestrating a promotional campaign in which he and his celebrity promoters hid the fact that the celebrities were paid for their tweets." These celebrities were allegedly directed not to disclose their compensation.
Other than Soulja Boy and Austin Mahone, all of the celebrities agreed to pay a total of more than $400,000 to settle the charges without admitting to the allegations, the SEC said.
Kim Kardashian previously faced similar charges last year of touting a crypto asset security without disclosing that she had been paid for the promotion. She agreed to settle those charges and pay over $1.26 million. Gensler said at the time that Kardashian's case "serves as a reminder to celebrities and others that the law requires them to disclose to the public when and how much they are paid to promote investing in securities."