Press Release - Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Crypto Lender to Pay Illinois Investors More Than $400,000
SOS Giannoulias Warns Illinoisans to Ensure Financial Advisors Are Registered With State
Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced that Illinois will receive $424,500 as part of the $45 million multi-state settlement with Nexo Capital, Inc.
Through its Illinois Securities Department, the Secretary of State's office joined other state security administrators and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of the investigation and settlement of $45 million with Nexo Capital, Inc. (Nexo), which was offering and selling unregistered securities in digital asset investments. This is part of a $45 million settlement, $22.5 million which will be distributed to state securities regulators.
"Crypto assets are not exempt from state and federal regulations, and financial services involved with them must comply with those regulations to ensure consumers are protected," Secretary Giannoulias said. "We will continue to investigate interest-bearing cryptocurrency accounts and take action against firms that offer them without complying with state law. However, this settlement demonstrates why Illinois investors must make sure that any financial advisor they use is properly registered with the state."
Nexo's Earn Interest Product (EIP) accounts allowed customers to deposit crypto assets with Nexo. In exchange, customers earned interest rates on their deposited crypto assets. The quoted rates were significantly higher than rates offered for short-term, investment grade, fixed-income securities, or bank savings accounts.
Illinois found that when Nexo offered its EIP, it failed to disclose material information about the investment and did not disclose all the risks associated with the digital assets.
In addition to the monetary settlement, Nexo agreed that it will stop offering its EIP unless properly registered. It also agreed to notify account holders on or before Feb.1, 2023, that investors should withdraw any assets from their accounts before April 1, 2023. The company also agreed to separate U.S. investor assets, recognize that U.S. investors hold legal title to those assets and not use those assets in risky speculative activities.
For more investor information, please contact the Illinois Securities Department at 800-628-7937.