Turns out actor Steven Seagal, unlike the title of his first movie, is not Above the Law.
Seagal on Thursday agreed to a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to disclose payments he received for promoting an initial coin offering (ICO) in 2018 conducted by Bitcoiin2Gen (B2G).
Seagal will pay disgorgement of $157,000, prejudgment interest of approximately $16,500, and a civil money penalty of $157,000 to the SEC to settle his violations of Section 17(b) of the Securities Act.
According to the SEC’s order, Seagal, from Feb. 12, 2018, through March 6, 2018, ran promotions for B2G and its ICO on his Twitter and Facebook accounts touting the security offering. The actor had been named a brand ambassador by B2G in a press release shared Feb. 13, 2018.
“As a Buddhist, Zen teacher, and healer, Steven lives by the principles that the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man. He believes that what he does in his life is about leading people into contemplation to wake them up and enlighten them in some manner,” the press release read. “These are precisely the objectives of the Bitcoiin2Gen to empower the community by providing a decentralized P2P payment system with its own wallet, mining ecosystem and robust blockchain platform without the need of any third party.”
All fine and dandy, except the release failed to note anywhere that Seagal was being paid for his endorsements. According to the SEC, Seagal had been promised $250,000 in cash and $750,000 worth of B2G tokens in exchange for his promotion, pursuant to an endorsement agreement. Seagal’s Twitter posts have since been deleted, though his Facebook posts were still available at the time of this article’s publishing.
Seagal’s work with B2G came nearly four months after the SEC’s Office of Compliance and Examinations issued a statement reminding market participants that celebrity endorsements of virtual tokens or coins that are securities must also disclose the amount of compensation received, the SEC noted.
Pursuant to the SEC’s order, Seagal will forgo receiving or agreeing to receive any form of compensation or consideration, directly or indirectly, from any issuer for the next three years.
Such is the Executive Decision.