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5 indicted under HYDRO market manipulation scheme, U.S DOJ alleges…

2min Read

Two of the individuals charged by the DOJ were previously booked by the U.S. SEC for their roles in effectuating the unregistered offers and sales of HYDRO, which the agency described as crypto securities.

5 indicted under HYDRO market manipulation scheme, U.S DOJ alleges...

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  • The U.S. Justice Department has charged five individuals for profiting $2 million by manipulating the market for HYDRO.
  • The accused face a prison term of between 5 to 20 years.

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged five individuals for perpetrating a market manipulation scheme involving Hydro [HYDRO], an ERC-20 token. Among those charged are the former Chief Executive of HYDRO issuer Hydrogen Technology Corporation, as well as the firm’s Chief of Financial Engineering. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had filed similar charges against the CEO in September last year. 

Accused face imprisonment of up to 20 years

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, an unsealed indictment revealed that the charged individuals include two U.S. citizens and one South African national. The Justice Department has alleged that CEO Michael Kane and fellow Hydrogen Technology Corporation executive Shane Hampton conspired with George Wolvaardt to manipulate the market for HYDRO, between June 2018 and April 2019. 

The Justice Department further alleged that these individuals attempted to:

“Defraud market participants by creating the false appearance of supply and demand for HYDRO to induce other market participants to trade at prices, quantities, and times that they otherwise would not have traded.”

They allegedly used a trading bot to place thousands of spoof orders that were never executed. They also engaged in wash trading of the token, ultimately making $2 million. 

Wolvaardt reportedly operated Moonwalkers Trading Limited, the market-making firm which designed the bot used by Kane’s firm. The two other individuals charged by the Justice department include an employee of the market-making firm and one from Hydrogen Technology Corporation.

Both have been charged with their participation in the market manipulation scheme. If convicted, the conspiracy to commit securities price manipulation count carries a penalty of up to five years. Meanwhile, the wire fraud charges may add another 20 years. 

The SEC charged Hydrogen Technology Corp, its CEO Michael Kane, and the CEO of Moonwalkers Trading in September 2022 for violating the registration, antifraud, and market manipulation provisions of the securities laws 


Saman Waris works as a News Editor at AMBCrypto. She has always been fascinated by how the tides of finance and technology shape communities across demographics. Cryptocurrencies are of particular interest to Saman, with much of her writing centered around understanding how ideas like Momentum and Greater Fool theories apply to altcoins, specifically, memecoins. A graduate in history, Saman worked the sports beat before diving into crypto. Prior to joining AMBCrypto 2 years ago, Saman was a News Editor at Sportskeeda. This was preceded by her stint as Editor-in-Chief at EssentiallySports.
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