• New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against Celsius co-founder and former CEO Alex Mashinsky for allegedly defrauding hundreds of thousands of investors out of billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.
• The lawsuit claims that Mashinsky deceived investors, making false and misleading statements about the safety of Celsius and encouraging them to deposit their assets onto the platform.
• 26,000 New Yorkers have been affected by the Celsius demise, and James is seeking to ban Mashinsky from doing business in the state.
The state of New York and Attorney General Letitia James have taken legal action against Alex Mashinsky, the co-founder and former CEO of Celsius. The lawsuit, filed on January 5, 2023, accuses Mashinsky of defrauding “hundreds of thousands of investors, including more than 26,000 New Yorkers, out of billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.”
The lawsuit claims that Mashinsky made false and misleading statements about the safety of Celsius, encouraging investors to deposit billions of dollars in digital assets onto the platform. It is believed that these investors have been affected by the Celsius demise, prompting James to seek to ban Mashinsky from doing business in the state.
The filing of the lawsuit comes only a day after Core Scientific detailed that it was shutting down 37,000 bitcoin miners owned by Celsius. This is not the first time that James has taken action against businesses in the cryptocurrency industry. In June, James warned of the volatility associated with crypto assets and urged Congress to ban them from US retirement accounts at the end of November 2022.
The attorney general also targeted crypto lender Nexo in a lawsuit announced at the end of September 2022. James stated, “As the former CEO of Celsius, Alex Mashinsky promised to lead investors to financial freedom but led them down a path of financial ruin. The lawsuit today sends a clear message: we will not allow fraudsters to take advantage of New Yorkers or undermine the integrity of our financial markets.”
The New York attorney general’s office is seeking to recover the funds lost by investors, as well as damages, penalties, and other relief. The office is also seeking to permanently ban Mashinsky from doing business in New York, as well as from serving as a director, officer, or fiduciary of any New York-based company.