The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday that it charged eight celebrities with endorsing cryptocurrencies without revealing they were being compensated. Actress Lindsay Lohan and boxer Jake Paul were among those charged with violating investor-protection laws, the Hill reports. Crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun and three of his companies also were hit with fraud counts. Sun, a diplomat for the nation of Grenada and protégé of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, was accused of committing fraud by creating the appearance of active trading of Tronix and BitTorrent when there was none, per CNBC. Sun also is accused of orchestrating the promotional campaign that "hid the fact that the celebrities were paid for their tweet," per the SEC.
The other celebrities charged are Soulja Boy, a rapper born DeAndre Cortez Way; Austin Mahone, a singer; Kendra Lust, a porn actress born Michele Mason; Lil Yachty, a rapper born Miles Parks McCollum; Ne-Yo, a musician born Shaffer Smith; and Akon, a Senegalese American singer born Aliaune Thiam. All but Soulja Boy and Mahone settled the charges with the SEC, per the BBC. The settlements did not include an admission of guilt. "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. (Read more Securities and Exchange Commission stories.)