A Florida federal jury convicted Hydrogen Technology Corp’s former head of financial engineering over crypto price manipulation conspiracy.
The convict, Shane Hampton, allegedly orchestrated a months-long scheme to manipulate the price of Hydrogen Tech’s native crypto token – Hydro. The beleaguered company already had disputes with the US securities regulator, which closed with $2.8 million payment in April, 2023.
Per a press release on Wednesday, Hampton and his co-conspirators perpetrated securities price manipulation and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy to commit securities price manipulation conviction and 20 years in prison for the conspiracy to commit wire fraud conviction.”
Convicts Used ‘Bot’ to Manipulate Hydro Price
Hampton automated trading ‘bot’ using a 3rd-party firm, that manipulated the token’s price on a US-based crypto exchange. The Hydro crypto flooded the market with fake orders from October 2018 to April 2019, the release noted.
The convicts used the bot to execute $7 million in “wash trades” and $300 million in “spoof trades” for Hydro. These fraudulent trades then lured retail investors to purchase the token, resulting in selling Hydrogen’s own token holdings for $1.5 million in a span of 7 months.
Already the company’s CEO Michael Kane faced charges in September 2022 for effectuating the unregistered offers and sales of Hydro. He was also charged for manipulating Hydro trading volume and price, which yielded more than $2 million for Hydrogen.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) noted at the time that Kane created Hydro token “and then publicly distributed the token through various methods” including airdrop and bounty programs.
Additionally, Andrew Chorlian, an engineer at Hydrogen Technology, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and price manipulation. Both Kane and Chorlian are awaiting sentencing.
The conviction was announced by legal authorities from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Southern District of Florida and an officer from FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.
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