- The founder of the Meta 1 scam has been hit with a $22.6 million penalty by the SEC
- The two and a half year investigation ended yesterday when the ruling was made
- Co-founders Robert Dunlap and Nicole Bowlder are on the hook for 98% of the total $27 million fine
The founders and associates of the outlandish Meta 1 scam have been hit with a $27 million penalty for illegal sale of securities. The verdict, handed down yesterday, saw the judge slamming the outright lies perpetrated by the Meta 1 team and catalogued their flagrant abuse of investors’ money over a four year period, which continues to this day. The project, which claimed to be a “coin for humanity” and to be backed by billions of dollars of gold and fine art, was confirmed by the judge to have been “all a scam” from the outset and that their “egregious and illegal actions caused investors worldwide to suffer a loss.”
Meta 1 has been on the Fullycrypto radar ever since its laughable whitepaper appeared on our desks in 2020, although by this point the scam had been running for two years. The promises made by Meta 1 were many and strong – the coin would only appreciate in value up to $50,000 per coin, the project would have the world’s fastest blockchain, and the company would have its own laboratory for testing the authenticity of the works of art it bought.
As to what Meta 1 actually did, this was ‘explained’ in the whitepaper:
META 1 Coin is a coin for Humanity and built on the framework of abundance by smart contracts, unbreachable on the blockchain, ensuring appreciation and never devaluation. META 1 COIN has a Private Bank and Private Exchange ensuring liquidity, security, and unencumbered transactions.
‘Backed’ by Billions in Gold and Fine Art
Initially, the Meta 1 coin was said to be backed by a $1 billion-dollar art collection and a $2.2 billion gold haul, which increased to a staggering $8.8 billion in December 2021. Naturally, no proof was ever offered to back these up, but this didn’t Dunlap, Bowdler and the rest of the Meta 1 team from taking $15.2 million from at least 800 investors in 40 states and eight foreign countries.
An SEC investigation was launched in March 2020, examining the claims made and engaging in painstaking research in tracking the funds collected and used by the Meta 1 team. The final verdict pulls no punches, with each of the defendants accused of engaging in “contemptuous conduct”, particularly when Dunlap and Schmidt rejected the jurisdiction of the SEC and threatened it, along with the court.
“Repeated, Egregious Fraudulent Conduct”
The judge continued that the four defendants “engaged in repeated, egregious fraudulent conduct”, raising money in every way they could with sham online law courses, merchandise, Zoom calls and in-person conferences. This was in addition to the millions brought in from selling the scam crypto, with money flooding in from investors in both crypto and fiat.
Dunalp and Bowdler would funnel it through various bank accounts, simply closing some and opening others when needed, or finding other people to move it for them. Or just buy cars and pay the bills with it.
Meta 1 Ignored Case Against Them
All the individuals targeted ignored any and all requests for information by the SEC throughout the investigation, with their actions leaving the judge little choice:
For all the reasons stated above, as to each Defendant, the Court should impose severe penalties in at least the amounts requested.
This she did, with the harshest penalties reserved for Dunlap:
With the SEC finally closing the case after two and a half years of exhaustive investigation, it now remains for them to actually collect the money. With the Meta 1 crowd not even entering the court let alone playing ball, the process of finding the money and getting it back may be equally as long and arduous as the process of deciding what they owe.
In the meantime, there is no sign of Meta 1 slowing down. They have a conference planned for tomorrow and continue to buy advertising space in online crypto newspapers, promising the Earth and delivering nothing. Until the SEC can find some way of actively shutting down their operation, they will appear to continue indefinitely.