WASHINGTON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Grammy award-winning rapper
Clifford Harris, known as T.I., agreed to pay a U.S. regulator
$75,000 to settle charges that he broke securities laws by
selling fraudulent crypto-currency investments, the agency said
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it had
charged the Atlanta rapper and actor along with four associates,
including film producer Ryan Felton who it says controlled the
companies FLiK and CoinSpark that conducted the initial coin
offerings which T.I. promoted.
T.I. neither admitted nor denied the SEC's findings,
according to the SEC. His attorney Henry E. Mazurek said T.I.
regretted getting involved with Felton, whom T.I. had believed
to be a local entrepreneur trying to make it easier for new
artists to enter the music industry.
The rapper "never received a dollar from Mr. Feltons failed
venture and immediately removed his name from it once he learned
that the project was undeveloped," said Mazurek, adding T.I.
fully cooperated with the SEC's investigation.
T.I., 39, is best known for 2008 hits Whatever You Like,"
Live Your Life and Swagga Like Us," and was featured on Robin
Thicke's No. 1 single "Blurred Lines" in 2013.
The SEC alleged that T.I. in 2017 promoted and sold FLiK
tokens on his social media accounts, falsely claiming to be a
FLiK co-owner and urging his followers to invest in the coins.
FLiK tokens were sold as investment contracts in the company
which claimed it would operate as a Netflix on the blockchain,
a streaming platform where users could buy products and services
with FLiK tokens. But Felton allegedly used the funds to buy a
Ferrari, million-dollar home, diamond jewelry and other luxury
goods, the SEC said.
Felton, the only one of the five who did not settle with the
SEC, was also charged by the Department of Justice on Friday.
Felton's attorney Joshua Sabert Lowther said the Justice
Department's allegations were "grossly misplaced" and that he
looked forwarding to defending himself at trial.
(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham and Michelle Price; additional
reporting by Katanga Johnson and Nate Raymond; Editing by
Matthew Lewis, Cynthia Osterman and Chizu Nomiyama)