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Why the SEC’s ‘bad faith’ lawsuit is good news for crypto

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Is the SEC facing accountability after misleading evidence in the Debt Box case?

Why the SEC's 'bad faith' lawsuit is good news for crypto

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In a significant development, a United States district court has levied sanctions against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for engaging in “bad faith” conduct during a lawsuit against Debt Box.

Judge Robert J. Shelby rejected the SEC’s motion to dismiss the case without prejudice, citing deliberate deception by the regulator regarding evidence used to secure a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

In the filing dated the 18th of March, Shelby stated, 

“The “critical evidence” the SEC offered to have obtained ‘lacked any basis,’ which was nonetheless advanced in “deliberately false and misleading ways.”

He further added, 

“The bad faith in inextricable from the abusive conduct and a sanction of attorneys’ fees and costs for all expenses resulting from that conduct is appropriate.”

The story so far 

In August 2023, the SEC accused Debt Box of perpetrating a $50 million crypto fraud, alleging that it masqueraded as a mining license provider.

Seeking a TRO and asset freeze, the SEC claimed that Debt Box transferred $720,000 abroad and plotted to flee to the UAE.

However, upon review, Judge Shelby found the SEC misrepresented facts, including the location of the $720,000 transfer, which was found to have occurred within the U.S.

Elaborating on the same, Paul Grewal, chief legal officer at Coinbase in his recent X (formerly Twitter) post added, 

“The operation of the American judicial system rests on the fundamental proposition that every party who comes before the court is bound by and adheres to the same set of rules.”

James Murphy also known as MetaLawMan, former founder and chairman of Murphy & McGonigle also noted, 

“This is a sad day. The SEC was once a great institution, respected around the globe for its competence and integrity. Now is a time for accountability.”

Judge Shelby v/s SEC

In December, Judge Shelby issued a “show cause order” to the SEC, urging them to justify their actions despite the SEC admitting its lack of transparency.

While the US senators labeled the SEC’s conduct in the Debt Box case as “unconscionable.” Shelby further criticized SEC attorney Michael Welsh for misleading the court, highlighting a troubling pattern of behavior.

In conclusion, Austin Campbell of Zero Knowledge Consulting condemns the SEC’s actions in the Debt Box crypto case.

He called for staff termination and agency reform, stressing the necessity of personal liability for SEC lawyers.

This underscored the importance of ethical conduct and transparency in regulatory institutions for maintaining market trust.


Ishika is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Delhi. From writing content as a hobby to now pursuing it as a professional career, she has been living and breathing content all her life. Her interests lie in making sure articles are very digestible to a common reader, despite all its technicalities and jargons.
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