NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce Charged by SEC for Touting EMAX Tokens

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused Basketball Hall of Famer Paul Pierce of promoting EMAX tokens and making misleading comments about unregistered cryptocurrency securities. The former Boston Celtics small forward agreed to settle the charges and pay the SEC $1.409 million.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Wants to Remind Celebrities About Disclosure Laws

Top U.S. Securities Regulatory Authority charged former Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce for illegally advertising the Ethereummax cryptocurrency project and the EMAX token. The SEC charges against Pierce follow an onslaught of enforcement action by U.S. regulators on staking services, earning programs, stablecoins and the Do Kwon Terra blockchain ecosystem. According to the SEC complaint, Pierce “failed to disclose that he was paid more than $244,000 worth of EMAX tokens to promote the tokens on Twitter.”

Pierce agreed to settle with the SEC $1.409 million in fines, penalties, and interest. The complaint also alleges that in one tweet, Pierce shared a screenshot of a profit that was much lower than his personal holdings. Another tweet shared the website of the Ethereummax project, which led to a portal to buy EMAX tokens. Pierce is not the only celebrity to be fined by the SEC for illegal advertising and misleading investors with the Ethereummax project and related tokens.

In October 2022, socialite Kim Kardashian was charged with illegally promoting the EMAX crypto asset. At the time, Kardashian also settled with the SEC for $1.26 million in fines. In a statement regarding Pierce’s allegations, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler insisted the case was “another celebrity reminder.” Gensler continued, “The law requires you to disclose to the public from whom and how much you are being paid to promote investments in securities, and you cannot lie to investors when you advertise securities.”

The controller added:

When celebrities endorse investment opportunities, including crypto asset securities, investors should be careful to find out if the investment is right for them, and they should know why the celebrities make such endorsements.

The SEC indictment notes that the Basketball Hall of Fame violated provisions of federal securities laws against advertising and fraud. The basketball star settled with the SEC on a ban or ban basis and promised not to promote any crypto assets for three years. The SEC also reminded investors to watch Gensler’s video about not investing “only on the recommendation of a celebrity or influencer.”

What do you think of the recent SEC enforcement action against celebrities promoting crypto assets and the perceived need for full disclosure to the public? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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