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