Rap impresario T.I. has been named as one of several people who helped promote a film director’s cryptocurrency scheme that was later used to fund the filmmaker’s lavish lifestyle.
The U.S. Department of Justice has secured indictments against movie director Ryan Felton whom the agency accuses of hoodwinking unsuspecting investors out of millions of dollars. While investors believed they were helping Felton fund a streaming service, the complaint from the U.S. Attorney’s Office says, Felton allegedly used the money to purchase a $1.5 million home and a $180,000 Ferrari.
“Initial coin offerings can be used to fund innovative and exciting projects that might not otherwise be able to come to life through traditional funding sources,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak in a statement on the agency’s website, justice.gov. “The defendant promised investors a stake in innovative ventures and allegedly spent investor funds lavishly on personal expenses.”
Chris Hacker, the special agent in charge of FBI field office in Atlanta, added that “this suspect misled investors to believe their money would fund two innovative ventures, but instead, every penny went to support the suspect’s lavish personal lifestyle,”
Another federal agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, accused Grand Hustle boss Clifford “Tip” Harris and three other men of helping Felton sell the fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme without telling folks they were getting paid to promote it, according to WSB-TV. The complaint also accuses T.I. of claiming he was a co-owner of Felton’s business to help drum up business.
Luckily for Tip, he only has to pay a $75,000 penalty fee and is barred from selling digital-asset securities until 2025. He will not be criminally charged.