Friday, the head of Wall Street’s regulatory agency announced that former NBA player Paul Pierce will pay more than $1.4 million to resolve claims that he improperly marketed digital assets.
In a complaint filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Pierce was accused of making false claims and promoting cryptocurrency tokens offered by EthereumMax on social media without revealing he was being compensated for his actions.
The SEC has recently taken steps to tighten down on celebrity sponsorships of crypto goods, and the agreement with the former Boston Celtic and NBA Hall of Famer is the latest example of this.
While Pierce did not acknowledge or deny wrongdoing, the SEC claims that he paid a total of $1.1 million to resolve the accusations, including $240,000 in penalties and the forfeitures of ill-gotten profits plus interest.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 17, 2023
SEC Chairman Gary Gensler stated in a statement, “This case is yet another reminder to celebrities: The law requires you to disclose to the public from whom and how much you are getting paid to promote investment in securities, and you can’t lie to investors when you tout a security,”
Pierce’s spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for clarification.
Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather Jr. were among the celebrities fined by the SEC last year for their involvement in disseminating false information about cryptocurrency tokens on social media.
The SEC under Gensler has adopted a tough stance against the emerging cryptocurrency market, increasing the number of enforcement proceedings launched against trading platforms that are suspected of violating investor protection regulations. Critics have warned the agency’s planned changes to the laws regulating the security of assets under control by hedge funds and others would discourage investment in digital cryptocurrencies.