- US authorities attempting to prosecute Hex founder Richard Heart for securities fraud have faced delays as they cannot locate him to serve legal papers
- The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Heart of misusing over $12 million of investors’ funds on luxury items.
- Heart’s deliberate secrecy about his location poses challenges akin to a John McAfee-style cat-and-mouse situation
US authorities have been unable to get their lawsuit against Hex founder Richard Heart off the ground because they can’t find him. Heart was charged with securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in August, one of the few occasions when the crypto world has supported its work, where he was accused of spending over $12 million of investors’ money on luxury clothes and cars. However, the SEC hasn’t been able to formally start proceedings because they can’t actually find Heart to serve him with the papers. Having potentially known he was going to attract such attention Heart has always kept his location secret, raising the intriguing possibility of a John McAfee-style game of cat-and-mouse.
Heart Being Sought in Finland
Heart launched HEX in 2019, claiming that it was “worth more than gold, credit card companies, and cash.” however, the token was pegged as a scam right from the off by many, who pointed to the years-long lockups which were necessary to unlock rewards, as well as the way in which the project was marketed purely as a money-making vehicle.
The SEC agreed and charged Heart with operating an unregistered sale of securities, seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, penalties, and other equitable remedies.
In order to do this, however, it needs to serve him with court papers, which is presenting a problem. In a recent filing to a New York federal court, an SEC lawyer admitted that, despite believing Heart resides in Helsinki, Finland, three months’ worth of attempts to serve him via the Finnish Ministry of Justice have failed for three months, noting that “the [SEC] has not received confirmation of service of process on Defendants in Finland.”
SEC Prepared for Next Steps
The inability to get hold of Heart is more galling given that a new documentary on the man himself recently premiered on Apple+, although deliberately concealed his home’s location from viewers and the film’s directors, choosing to conduct interviews in an undisclosed underground bunker.
Heart’s reprieve may only be temporary, however; if Heart hasn’t been personally served by December 15 the SEC will “move for alternative service” which could involve service via email.