The pair used YouTube videos and global roadshows to promote fraudulent offerings of securities involving digital tokens.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged siblings John and JonAtina (Tina) Barksdale with defrauding thousands of retail investors out of more than $124 million.
SEC claims that since 2017 the siblings have offered and sold Ormeus Coin to investors on various crypto platforms.
Using a multi-level marketing business called Ormeus Global, the pair also offered and sold subscription packages that included Ormeus Coin and an investment in a crypto trading program.
Victims claim that the Barksdale venture was accompanied by a large false advertisement campaign that created a false sense of the business being worthy of investment.
According to the SEC, Tina led the production of social media posts, YouTube videos, and other promotional materials while John embarked on a global roadshow.
Even though the pair abandoned their crypto mining operation in 2019 after generating less than $3 million, they claimed that Ormeus Coin had a $250 million crypto mining operation with up to $8 million in monthly revenue.
The pair's public website displayed a wallet of an unrelated third party showing more than $190 million in assets, while in reality, Ormeus wallets were worth less than $500,000.
"We allege that the Barksdales acted as modern-day snake-oil salesmen, using social media, promotional websites, and in-person roadshows to mislead retail investors for their own personal benefit," said Melissa Hodgman, Associate Director in the SEC's Division of Enforcement.
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