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by Mike Caswell
Troy Hogg, an Ontario man charged for a $45-million pump-and-dump involving a supposed $10-billion worth of gold bullion, denies that he did anything wrong. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claims that Mr. Hogg was behind a scheme to issue a virtual currency that was supposedly backed by gold. He and others touted the value of ultimately worthless tokens while unloading them on investors, the SEC claimed.
The denials from Mr. Hogg are contained in an answer filed in federal court in Miami on Friday, April 28. The document contains few specifics, with Mr. Hogg simply denying each allegation against him or denying "knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief" as to the allegation. He admits to some things that are not controversial, such as being a resident of Ontario. (The SEC listed him as a resident of Grand Bend, a beach town west of Toronto.)
While Mr. Hogg's answer says little about the scheme, it does have plenty of legalese at the bottom. He says that the SEC has failed to "allege deceptive or manipulative conduct in furtherance of a purported pump and dump scheme" or to cite him for acting with scienter (knowledge that he was doing something wrong). He further says that the tokens at issue were not subject to the same rules as other securities, as they did not constitute an investment contract. He also claims to have relied on legal advice as part of a "good-faith effort" to comply with the law.
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