The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), Canada’s securities regulator, is the latest to take action against an unregistered offshore cryptocurrency firm that, it says, is targeting local investors.
The OSC has issued a temporary cease trade order against USI-Tech Ltd., and a couple of individuals, Eleanor Parker and Casey Combden.
The three “appear to be involved in a multilevel marketing scheme that targets Ontario investors and encourages them to purchase bitcoin packages,” the OSC says in an investor alert.
The order prohibits trading by USI-Tech, Parker and Combden, noting that they are not registered to sell securities in Ontario, and they may have traded without registration and distributed securities without a prospectus.
The firm is purportedly headquartered in Dubai, however, “There is no evidence to confirm where it is based or to identify its directing mind or management,” the OSC order says.
Saskatchewan’s Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority has already issued its own temporary order against USI-Tech, and regulators in British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have published investor alerts about the firm.
Late last year, the Texas State Securities Board imposed an emergency cease and desist order against USI Tech, and a couple of its agents, alleging they were violating state securities rules by operating in that jurisdiction.