T.I. Charged by the SEC for Investment Fraud Using Social Media, Has to Pay $75,000 in Civil Penalties

Illustration for article titled T.I. Charged by the SEC for Investment Fraud Using Social Media, Has to Pay $75,000 in Civil Penalties

Photo: Robin L Marshall (Getty Images)

Days after he hopped on Instagram to tell people to use “all the money” they’ve gotten from the government during COVID-19 to buy property, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed that Atlanta rapper and frequent bloviator T.I. will have to pay the government a fat sum of money as restitution for his participation in alleged trading fraud.

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In an announcement on Friday, the SEC outlined that it charged Tip, whose real name is Clifton Harris Jr., for helping Atlanta-based film producer Ryan Felton raise money for a fraudulent company on social media.

T.I., Felton, and T.I.’s social media manager William Sparks, Jr., were all named by the SEC as participants in the alleged scheme, in which Felton claimed to seeking funds to invest in his digital companies FliK and CoinSpark as part of an initial coin offering (ICO). In reality, Felton was misappropriating the funds to buy himself a Ferrari, a million-dollar house, and diamond jewelry, and participate in manipulative trading on the market for his personal benefit.

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Meanwhile, T.I. was encouraging his social media followers to ‘invest’ in Felton’s non-existent new ventures.

From the SEC:

In a settled administrative order, the SEC finds that T.I. offered and sold FLiK tokens on his social media accounts, falsely claiming to be a FLiK co-owner and encouraging his followers to invest in the FLiK ICO.

T.I. also asked a celebrity friend to promote the FLiK ICO on social media and provided the language for posts, referring to FLiK as T.I.’s “new venture.” The SEC’s complaint alleges that T.I.’s social media manager William Sparks, Jr. offered and sold FLiK tokens on T.I.’s social media accounts, and that two other Atlanta residents, Chance White and Owen Smith, promoted SPARK tokens without disclosing they were promised compensation in return.

After being nabbed for his participation in the alleged scamming, the SEC says T.I. has agreed to pay $75,000 as a civil penalty and not participate in any digital assets trading or promotion for the next five years. His social media manager will also have to pay a $25,000 penalty to the government.

Back to the video that T.I. posted on Instagram earlier this week, in which he tells to people that they should be using their stimulus money from the government to buy land instead of copping mink coats and Christian Louboutin shoes:

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Hopefully this news of T.I.’s entanglement with the SEC provides a bit of caution to anyone thinking of taking life or business advice via the rapper’s lectures on social media.

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Felton, who is accused of illegitimately copping all sorts of luxury goods with people’s hard-earned money and T.I.’s apparent assistance, has been slapped with both civil and criminal charges by the U.S. District Court of Northern Georgia.

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