On Friday, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against T.I. and four other “Atlanta-based individuals,” including film producer Ryan Felton. According to the SEC’s press release, T.I, the stage name of Clifford Harris Jr., and three other people promoted Felton’s companies, FLiK and CoinSpark, which the commission says are “unregistered and fraudulent initial coin offerings,” or ICOs. Fortunately for T.I., he and his three compatriots were able to settle with the commission, with the rapper paying $75,000 and agreeing to “not participate in offerings or sales of digital-asset securities for at least five years.” The settlements are subject to court approval.
According to the SEC, Ryan Felton set about building “a digital streaming platform for FLiK, and a digital-asset trading platform for CoinSpark.” Instead, he allegedly misappropriated funds, profited to the tune of $2.2 million, and “engaged in manipulative trading to inflate the price of SPARK tokens.” T.I. reportedly promoted FLiK to his followers on social media, and claimed to be a co-owner of the company, which he is not. Felton, who was charged with “violating registration, antifraud, and anti-manipulation provisions of the federal securities law,” has also been charged in a parallel criminal case by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.