Crypto turmoil: CFTC accuses Voyager co-founder Stephen Ehrlich of fraud and deceptive practices

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Recent news in the crypto world has involved the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filing charges against Stephen Ehrlich, co-founder of Voyager Digital, for alleged fraud and failure to register with the regulatory agency. 

The charges involve deceptive practices that led to Voyager’s financial collapse and substantial losses to its customers.

CFTC accuses Voyager co-founder Stephen Ehrlich of crypto fraud

In a recent twist in the cryptocurrency industry, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has charged Stephen Ehrlich, co-founder of Voyager Digital, with fraud and failure to register with the agency. 

The charges revolve around a complex web of deception, which led to Voyager’s collapse and huge losses for customers.

Ehrlich and his company said they prioritized the safe and responsible management of clients’ digital assets. However, behind the scenes, they demonstrated shocking recklessness that led to Voyager’s collapse. 

The CFTC accused Ehrlich of misleading customers from February to July 2022 by misrepresenting the safety and financial health of Voyager’s digital asset platform.

One of the central points of the case is Ehrlich’s promises of high returns, which sometimes reached 12%. 

To fulfill these promises, Ehrlich and Voyager pooled client funds and transferred billions of dollars of clients’ digital assets as “loans” to high-risk third parties. This practice raises serious concerns about their risk management and the safety of clients’ assets.

In addition, in a parallel action, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) permanently banned Voyager from managing consumer assets. 

The FTC also accused Ehrlich of misleading customers about insurance coverage of their accounts by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which did not happen. Ehrlich’s refusal to settle with the FTC portends a long legal battle.

The rule violation occurred before the crypto company’s bankruptcy

This development is preceded by a Bloomberg News report that CFTC investigators found that Ehrlich violated rules before Voyager’s bankruptcy. 

The CFTC’s enforcement division internally recommended that Ehrlich be charged with violating derivatives rules for misleading clients about the safety of their assets. 

This demonstrates the seriousness of the charges and the extensive investigation conducted by regulators.

In response to these allegations, Ehrlich expressed regret for the losses suffered by Voyager’s customers and creditors, attributing the situation to the actions of the broader crypto sector. He said they were all victims of a larger scam, stressing the importance of regulatory integrity.

Voyager Digital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection more than a year ago, citing prolonged volatility in the sector. This downturn was exacerbated by the collapse of blockchain Terra in May 2022, which resulted in a substantial loss of market value. 

This is a stark reminder of the fragility of the cryptocurrency market and the need for transparent and responsible practices to safeguard investors’ interests.

The CFTC’s charges against Stephen Ehrlich and Voyager Digital underscore the critical importance of accountability and transparency in the cryptocurrency industry.

As regulators take decisive action, it is clear that gaps in regulatory compliance and ethical behavior can have serious consequences for companies and their stakeholders. 

The outcome of this case will be closely watched by the cryptocurrency community, as it could set a precedent for future regulatory actions in this rapidly evolving space.