(Reuters) — Paul Pierce, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, has agreed to pay more than $1.4 million to settle allegations that he illegally promoted digital assets, Wall Street’s top watchdog said on Friday.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission said Pierce promoted crypto tokens sold by EthereumMax on social media without disclosing that he was being paid to do so, and made misleading statements about the product.
The settlement with the former Boston Celtics player marks the latest move by the SEC to crack down on celebrity endorsements of crypto products.
Mr. Pierce settled the charges without admitting or denying them and agreed to pay $1.1 million in fines and an additional $240,000 representing the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, according to the SEC.
“This case is another reminder to celebrities: the law requires you to disclose to the public from whom and how much you are paid to promote investments in securities, and you cannot lie to investors when offering a security,”; SEC Det Chairman Gary Gensler said in a statement.
A representative for Pierce did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last year, the SEC fined several celebrities, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian and former boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. for their role in falsely promoting crypto tokens through social media.
Under Mr. Gensler, the SEC has taken a hard line against the nascent cryptocurrency industry, multiplying enforcement actions against trading platforms accused of operating outside investor protection laws. The agency this week proposed new rules for holding assets under management by hedge funds and others that critics said would hinder investments in digital currencies.