The crypto bubble began to burst last week when hot cryptocurrency exchange FTX dove headfirst into bankruptcy, dragging all of its celebrity promoters down with it. Larry David, Tom Brady, Giselle Bündchen, Shaquille O’Neal, Stephen Curry, and others have been named in a class-action lawsuit accusing the exchange — which lost $32 billion in the crash — and its famous mouthpieces of using deceptive means to entice customers to invest in the company, per documents obtained by Variety.
Oklahoma resident Edwin Garrison, who purchased a yield-bearing account from FTX, filed a complaint in a Florida federal district court on November 15 seeking to represent a class of “thousands, if not millions, of consumers nationwide” who were allegedly defrauded by the former crypto giant. The financial crime accusations don’t stop there — the suit also claims that FTX’s yield-bearing accounts represent unregistered securities under federal and Florida law.
But back to the celebrity mess of it all. FTX and its former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried are accused of using celebrities to lure “unsophisticated investors” in a so-called “Ponzi scheme” to keep the company running, according to the filing. “Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilizing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment — like these Defendants — to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest” in FTX’s yield-bearing accounts. The suit claims the FTX collapse resulted in a consumer loss of more than $11 billion and seeks monetary damages.
Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David was named in the suit for his appearance in “Don’t Miss Out on Crypto,” an FTX Super Bowl ad that aired this year. The ad “featured David being a skeptic on such historically important inventions as the wheel, the fork, the toilet, democracy, the light bulb, the dishwasher, the Sony Walkman, and, of course, FTX, and cautioned viewers, ‘Don’t be like Larry,’” the lawsuit said. The jokes about making this ad the same year the currency crashes practically write themselves.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady and his former wife Giselle Bündchen got a special shout-out for their 2021 ad, “FTX. You In?,” where they call everyone they know and try to get them to make FTX accounts. Though the ad feels like a harbinger of Ponzi scheme accusations, it also begins with Bündchen trying to discuss her husband’s endless football career only for Brady to unceremoniously shut down the conversation to talk about crypto … the impending divorce was in front of us the entire time. Other defendants include the Golden State Warriors (yes, the team’s organization made a promo deal with FTX), Udonis Haslem, David Ortiz, William Trevor Lawrence, Shohei Ohtani, Naomi Osaka, and Kevin O’Leary. The lawsuit goes on to claim that FTX “shuffled” customer funds around in an “attempt to maintain the appearance of liquidity.” Gonna be tough to beat the Fyre Festival allegations.