New Crypto Project Exit Scams, Founder Moves To Bali and Pictures Everything

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Ian Holtz, CEO of Aphelion, a crypto project that set out to build a decentralized exchange (DEX) on the NEO blockchain, has reportedly been living a life of luxury with the $4.8 million raised by the Aphelion ICO in November 2017.

Now on June 1, he announced that Aphelion project has run out of money.

Image Source: http://archive.vn/CQlQQ#selection-217.6-217.39

According to a Medium post exposing the story behind Holtz, the CEO moved to Bali, Indonesia at the start of 2019 and has since been living a life of luxury. He even started a new business called BaliEarth with money that he duped out of investors.

Per the Medium post, on April 15, 2019, Holtz misled investors by hyping up an announcement that was going to take place in 3 days. During this time, the price of Aphelion (APH) pumped 70%, enabling the CEO to sell 2.49 million APH on the same day.

Since his project announcement on April 18, Holtz failed to respond to his community until June 1, when he announced the project had run out of money.

From February 11 to May 16, Holtz reportedly sold 15 million APH out of a total of 21 million as well as 6,000 NEO ($206,130) from the team’s wallet. The NEO held in the team’s wallet was supposed to go towards development and marketing efforts, which never happened.

Instead, Holtz moved his family to Bali, started a new business, and has been living a life of luxury ever since:

Image Source: http://archive.vn/CQlQQ#selection-217.6-217.39

Holtz Violated 5 out of 8 SEC Regulations

By analyzing all of Holtz’s procedures and actions throughout the lifespan of Aphelion (APH), it appears that he has violated 5 out of 8 SEC regulations.

Let’s delve into it:

  1. Fraudulent or unregistered offer or sale of securities — Holtz didn’t register APH tokens as securities and listed his token on the Aphelion DEX to be traded by anyone, including US citizens.
  2. Theft or misappropriation of funds or securities — He obviously spent the majority of raised money on his own luxury life and drained his team’s wallet containing 6,000 NEO for personal use.
  3. Manipulation of a security’s price or volume — On April 18, he misled investors by announcing that everything was on track with Aphelion’s development, and then sold a huge chunk of APH when the price pumped.
  4. Insider trading —  The day before he announced that the Aphelion DEX is out of money and will be closed, he sold a large amount of APH, leading to a crash in the price.
  5. False or misleading statements about a company — He continuously lied about his project’s state of affairs, stating that development was going well, even 10 days before everything collapsed.

All in all, it’s pretty clear that Holtz executed a premeditated crypto exit scam and moved his family to Bali to escape legal consequences in the US. It’s doubtful that Holtz will ever return to the US, as he would probably be arrested.

Have you ever fallen victim to a crypto exit scam? If so which one? Let us know in the comment section below.

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