Lindsay Lohan and Shaffer Smith (Ne-Yo) are among eight celebrities hit with charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly promoting cryptocurrencies “without disclosing that they were compensated for doing so and the amount of their compensation.”
Other familiar names charged in the case include Aliaune Thiam (Akon), Miles Parks McCollum (Lil Yachty), DeAndre Cortez Way (Soulja Boy), YouTuber Jake Paul, singer-songwriter Austin Mahone, and adult film star Michele Mason (Kendra Lust), the SEC said in a news release Wednesday.
The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The SEC additionally announced charges against crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun and three of his companies — Tron Foundation Limited, BitTorrent Foundation Ltd., and Rainberry Inc. (formerly BitTorrent), “for the unregistered offer and sale of crypto asset securities Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT).”
The commission accused Sun of “orchestrating a scheme to pay celebrities to tout TRX and BTT without disclosing their compensation.”
The SEC alleged Sun made millions of dollars from the scheme.
“This case demonstrates again the high-risk investors face when crypto asset securities are offered and sold without proper disclosure,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement.
All of the celebrities charged in the case, with the exception of Soulja Boy and Mahone, agreed to pay over $400,000 in penalties and interest to settle the charges, without an acceptance or a denial of the SEC’s allegations.
A spokesperson for Lohan told NBC News, “Lindsay was contacted in March 2022 and was unaware of the disclosure requirement… She agreed to pay a fine to resolve the matter.”
Reps for the other celebrities and Sun did not immediately respond to the outlet’s requests for comment.
Last year the SEC announced reality star and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian agreed to pay $1.26 million in penalties and interest for failing to disclose a payment she received for touting crypto on Instagram.