Steven Seagal, now the friend of Putin, has morphed from a Hollywood action hero into a strange urban legend as he finds himself embroiled in a bizarre cryptocurrency scam involving a coin called Bitcoiin2Gen (B2Gen).
How things got this crazy
It all started with a crypto con artist called John DeMarr. DeMarr and his scammer buddies lured investors into their cryptocurrency investment scheme, promising returns of 8000%. While the crypto at the centre of the con was called Bitcoiin2Gen, it actually had nothing to do with Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency.
The fraudsters managed to siphon US$11 from investors in the scam. Instead of placing these funds into the promised money-making investment plans on behalf of these hopeful enthusiasts, DeMarr and his friends funnelled the money into their own accounts.
DeMarr was soon seen sporting new luxury items like a Porsche and expensive jewellery. He also undertook some flashy home renovations.
During the promotion cycle of B2Gen, DeMarr was somehow able to convince Steven Seagal to be the celebrity face of the cryptocurrency, in return for US$250,000. Segal did this faithfully, waxing lyrical on his social media accounts about the coin.
Steven Seagal and the SEC
According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “The investors were entitled to know about payments Seagal received or was promised to endorse this investment so they could decide whether he may be biased. Celebrities are not allowed to use their social media influence to tout securities without appropriately disclosing their compensation.”
Another SEC statement said, “The SEC’s order finds that Seagal failed to disclose he was promised US$250,000 in cash and US$750,000 worth of B2G tokens in exchange for his promotions, which included posts on his public social media accounts…”
The SEC also said that Seagal failed to state that his involvement with a frothy press release from B2G was also a paid promotion.
The cringeworthy press release is still online. It burbles, “As a Buddhist, Zen teacher, and healer, Steven lives by the principles that the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man. He believes that what he does in his life is about leading people into contemplation to wake them up and enlighten them in some manner. These are precisely the objectives of the Bitcoiin2Gen…”
DeMarr now gets to have a nice rest in prison, as he was sentenced to five years in the clink earlier this month. The District Attorney said, “DeMarr took advantage of those who trusted him, persuading them to double down on their investments when he knew that his cryptocurrency companies and their dubious celebrity endorsements were scams being used to fund his lavish lifestyle.”
While it doesn’t seem like Seagal got his full payment from B2Gen, he did get a solid fine, being told to pay a US$314,000 settlement to the SEC.
Steven Seagal moves to Russia and BFF Putin
While the SEC may demand the fine, they may need some luck in getting him to pay it. Seagal moved to Russia in 2016 and became a citizen in 2018.
Seagal has a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has been a vocal supporter of the Russian government and its policies. However his relocation to Moscow and his buddying up with Putin may not help him escape the fine.
A judge has allowed the SEC to pursue collection of money owed by Seagal, saying they can acquire it via his US-based manager, regardless of whether Segal is in the USA or not. And Seagal definitely can’t pay the fine in B2Gen.
Maybe Seagal will be smuggled back into the USA to see his family at Christmas? This might be aided by Putin, while he runs across the snowy tundra in Russia and avoids the evil lawmakers of the motherland? Sounds like the plot of his next movie. Over to you, Netflix.