Flik Creator Pleads Guilty to $2.5 Million ICO Fraud

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  • Ryan Felton has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of financial fraud over the Flik ICO
  • Felton laundered $2.5 million of investor funds in 2017 and again with another ICO in 2018
  • He pleaded guilty on the fourth day of his trial and faces a long prison stay

The creator of Flik, which purported itself to be a decentralised content streaming service, last week pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering after conning ICO buyers out of $2.5 million. Ryan Felton promised that Flik would challenge streaming giants such as Netflix but instead he took the money and spent it on upgrading his lifestyle, including the purchase of luxury cars and jewellery. Felton managed to raise $200,000 from a second unrelated ICO before being caught and charged with multiple counts of fraud in 2020.

Flik Rode 2017 ICO Boom

Felton made the most of the ICO boom in 2017 to raise $2.5 million for Flik, claiming that prominent Atlanta rapper and actor Clifford Harris Jr., known as T.I. or Tip, was a co-owner of the company; that it had a usage deal with the United States military; and that Flik was finalising licensing deals with major film and television studios.

None of this was true, but it helped the price of the token rocket on exchange listing, at which point Felton dumped more than 40 million FLIK tokens, causing the value to plummet. Having seemingly got a taste for it, Felton tried another ICO for crypto exchange CoinSpark in 2018, pretending that a global accounting firm would audit CoinSpark’s finances on a quarterly basis and investors would receive a healthy proportion of the exchange’s fees.

Felton Faces Years in Prison

Naturally, Felton had never spoken to the accounting firm and had gone as far as using fake names on various internet forums and social media sites to push false information and build up hype. CoinSpark collapsed soon after it launched, with Felton keeping the money and ignoring investors. This time however the stiffed investors filed a lawsuit, which piqued the interest of the FBI and in September 2020 Felton, Harris Jr and three Flik promoters.

Last week, on the fourth day of his jury trial and with things seemingly going very badly for him indeed, Felton pleaded guilty to 12 counts of wire fraud, 10 counts of money laundering, and two counts of securities fraud. Felton faces a long time in jail for his crimes, with each count potentially bringing with it a double-digit prison sentence.