New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday expanded its lawsuit against crypto-focused VC firm Digital Currency Holdings, increasing the size of the alleged fraud to $3 billion. The initial case filed in October focused on alleged fraud amounting to $1.1 billion carried out by DCG, its subsidiary lending platform Genesis, and crypto exchange Gemini, which ran a program called Gemini Earn in conjunction with Genesis.
The victims of the fraud are now alleged to include Genesis’ own customers, and not just customers of Gemini Earn.
Reuters first reported on the news.
The news of the expanded lawsuit comes a day after Bloomberg reported that Genesis had agreed to settle its case against the Attorney General’s office. It was not immediately clear how the expanded lawsuit related to the settlement.
One creditor of Genesis told Unchained that he was encouraged by the amended complaint.
“We’re very — and when I say ‘we’ I mean I’m also in a group with many other creditors — we’re very happy about today’s complaint because it finally recognizes officially that we. . .were victims of fraud by Genesis and DCG directly,” said the creditor, who asked to be identified as BJ. “And we provided evidence to substantiate those allegations. We’re very happy about that.”
He also noted that the Genesis settlement was a significant development for creditors, with the New York Attorney General “showing dramatic support for crypto creditors.”
More Investors Come Forward
In October, James sued the group, alleging that Gemini Earn, which allowed customers to lend crypto assets to Genesis for a generous rate of return, misled investors with false assurances that their funds were safe. The AG’s office has now said that more investors have since come forward, leading to an additional $2 billion in assets that were lost. In total, the AG’s office said that more than 230,000 investors were defrauded.
Among those additional investors that came forward were people who sent their money directly to Genesis, the Attorney General’s office said.
“After months of false promises, we pulled the curtain back and revealed that DCG was lying to investors and defrauding them out of billions,” said Attorney General James in a statement. “This illegal cryptocurrency scheme, and the horrific financial losses that real people have suffered, are yet another reminder of why stronger cryptocurrency regulations are needed to protect all investors.”
DCG called the expanded claims “baseless” and accused the Attorney General of trying to garner media attention.
“There is nothing new here,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We will fight the claims aggressively and we will win. DCG has always conducted its business lawfully and with integrity, and DCG and [CEO] Barry Silbert will be fully vindicated.”
James’ office has brought numerous cases against crypto companies and executives in the past, including CoinEx, Coin Cafe, and the former CEO of Celsius.
UPDATE (Feb. 9 12:04 pm ET) Updated with details throughout.
UPDATE (Feb. 9 5:00 pm ET) Added statement from DCG.
UPDATE (Feb. 9 6:52 pm ET) Added comments from a Genesis creditor.