Akon, Lil’Yachty, Ne-Yo and Soulja Boy Settle With SEC Over Crypto Violations

These celebrities are getting involved in everything, and it is starting to catch up with them.

Semafor reports Lil’ Yachty, Ne-Yo, Akon, and Soulja Boy have been charged with illegally using cryptocurrency. The Securities and Exchange Commission says these celebs failed to disclose they were getting paid for promoting these companies, Tronix and BitTorrent.

After settling with the SEC, some celebrities, except Soulja Boy, agreed to pay over $400,000 without admitting or denying their guilt.

The agency claims the celebrities were paid to promote both crypto asset securities offered for sale by three companies owned by Justin Sun, a Chinese national. According to ABC News, Sun is the permanent representative of Grenada to the World Trade Organization and is accused of living in Singapore or Hong Kong. In 2017, Sun allegedly offered to sell billions in unregistered securities and dabbled in manipulative trading, creating secondary markets where Tronix and BitTorrent could be traded.

In a statement, the chair of SEC, Gary Gensler, says Sun’s campaign left out key information. “Sun further 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.”

This isn’t the first time Black celebrities have gotten into trouble with cryptocurrency. Late last year, Shaquille O’Neal was mentioned as a defendant in a lawsuit against FTX, once one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. Now bankrupt, the lawsuit claimed O’Neal promoted the company in a commercial in June 2022. The SEC alleged the FTX endorsement was fraudulent and accused the founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, of misusing customer funds for his benefit and his crypto hedge fund.

O’Neal said that when it comes to FTX, he was only a celebrity being used for an ad.