Stars Sued Over Ads for FTX 'Ponzi Scheme'

Class-action filing says celebrities deceptively encouraged investments in failing crypto exchange
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2022 4:42 PM CST
Stars Sued Over Ads for FTX 'Ponzi Scheme'
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady attends a news conference Munich, Germany, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)

The pain felt by investors in FTX might at some point be shared by the celebrities who made ads promoting it. A new class-action lawsuit names a raft of celebrities who promoted the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, saying the deceptive endorsements were designed to prompt "unsophisticated investors" to put their money in what essentially was a "Ponzi scheme" to keep the struggling exchange afloat, Variety reports. FTX filed for bankruptcy protection last week. The suit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Miami, seeks damages but doesn't specify an amount. It does say the exchange's collapse has cost consumers more than $11 billion.

The sports stars named in the suit include Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, Naomi Osaka, Shaquille O'Neal, David Ortiz, and Shohei Ohtani, as well as the Golden State Warriors, who partnered with FTX. Model Gisele Bundchen, comedian Larry David, and Shark Tank cast member Kevin O'Leary also were named, per Yahoo Sports. All made some sort of ad for the cryptocurrency exchange; David's commercial was aired during the Super Bowl in February. Brady's compensation for becoming a brand ambassador included a share of FTX, per NBC Sports. He filmed a commercial with his then-wife, Bundchen, showing the two calling people to encourage them to invest in FTX, with each answering, "I'm in." The ad is cited in the lawsuit, which was filed by Edwin Garrison, an Oklahoma man who said he bought a yield-bearing FTX account. (More FTX stories.)

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