The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken legal action against Brian Sewell and his company Rockwell Capital Management, alleging their involvement in defrauding investors of over a million dollars. The SEC contends that Sewell misled individuals enrolled in his online crypto course, the Bitcoin Academy, between early 2018 and mid-2019.
According to the SEC, Sewell encouraged hundreds of students to invest in the Rockwell Fund during this period, claiming that the fund would utilize advanced artificial intelligence and trading strategies for buying and selling digital assets. The regulatory body alleges that 15 students were enticed to invest a total of $1.2 million in the fund.
Contrary to the advertised investment strategies, the SEC asserts that Sewell invested the funds in Bitcoin, which were subsequently lost in a hacking incident. Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, remarked, “Sewell defrauded students in his online American Bitcoin Academy of over a million dollars through a series of lies about investment opportunities in his purported crypto hedge fund.”
As part of the settlement agreement, Brian Sewell and Rockwell Capital Management have chosen to settle the fraud charges without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations. The terms of the settlement include a civil penalty of $223,229 for Sewell and disgorgement with prejudgment interest totaling $1,602,089 for Rockwell Capital. Both Sewell and his company have also consented to injunctive relief.
It’s important to note that the settlement terms are subject to court approval. The SEC’s legal action underscores the heightened regulatory scrutiny on fraudulent activities within the cryptocurrency space. This case serves as a stark reminder for investors to exercise caution and conduct thorough due diligence before participating in any investment opportunities, especially within the dynamic and evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies.
The SEC’s intervention in cases like these reinforces its commitment to maintaining the integrity of financial markets and protecting investors from fraudulent schemes. The settlement’s financial penalties and injunctive relief are intended not only to hold the accused accountable but also to deter others from engaging in similar deceptive practices within the crypto industry.
Investors and individuals interested in cryptocurrency-related education or investment opportunities should remain vigilant and skeptical of promises that seem too good to be true. Conducting thorough research, verifying the credentials of educators or investment entities, and seeking advice from reputable sources are essential steps to mitigate the risk of falling victim to fraudulent activities within the cryptocurrency space.
As the crypto industry continues to grow and mature, regulatory bodies worldwide are actively working to establish frameworks that protect market participants and maintain fair and transparent markets. The SEC’s involvement in cases like the one involving Brian Sewell and Rockwell Capital Management contributes to building trust in the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem, promoting responsible behavior, and fostering a more secure environment for investors.
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