Shaquille O’Neal Sued Over Astrals Crypto Ownership and Promotion – The Hollywood Reporter
Shaquille O’Neal, the former NBA basketball player, has been sued over his promotion and alleged ownership of a cryptocurrency by a man who claimed that it was a scam. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the case was filed by a Florida man named Scott A. Hill, who alleged that O’Neal and his business partner, Erik Richmond, promoted Astral, a blockchain-based platform, as a secure and reliable cryptocurrency.
Hill claimed in his lawsuit that he invested in Astral using Bitcoin and Ethereum after being assured by O’Neal and Richmond that the platform was safe and stable. However, he later discovered that the platform was a fraud and that he had lost nearly $15,000 of his investment in the process.
According to the lawsuit, when Hill attempted to contact O’Neal and Richmond to express his concerns and address his grievances, he was ignored. Hill also accused O’Neal and his partner of promoting the cryptocurrency on various social media platforms, including Twitter, without disclosing that they were paid promoters.
The lawsuit filed by Hill cited several statements allegedly made by O’Neal and Richmond about Astral, including a tweet by O’Neal which read, “I just learned about Astral and I love what they are doing. They are revolutionizing the crypto space with their unique approach. I’m all in.” Another statement released by Richmond, according to the lawsuit, stated that “Astral is the future of cryptocurrencies.”
The lawsuit further alleged that O’Neal and Richmond participated in “pump and dump” schemes, where they promoted the cryptocurrency to inflate its value, only to sell their own holdings at the inflated price. Hill claimed that this was done without regard for the safety or interests of the investors who had followed them into the scam.
The lawsuit seeks a full refund of Hill’s investment, along with an additional $5 million in punitive damages. The lawsuit further demands that O’Neal and Richmond be prohibited from engaging in any promotion or commercial activity related to cryptocurrencies.
The case is one of several similar lawsuits currently being pursued against celebrities who have been accused of promoting shady or fraudulent cryptocurrencies. In recent years, many celebrities, including Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled, have been sued for promoting cryptocurrency scams.
The rise of cryptocurrency has created new avenues for earning money and exploring new financial frontiers. However, it has also attracted people who want to take advantage of investors through elaborate scams and Ponzi schemes. Many investors have been left high and dry after investing in new cryptocurrencies that turned out to be outright frauds.
The lawsuit against O’Neal serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with entering the cryptocurrency market. While blockchain technologies offer great promise and potential for the future, they remain highly speculative and unpredictable, and investors should be cautious when investing their money.
In conclusion, the lawsuit against Shaquille O’Neal serves as a warning to other celebrities and investors who may be considering entering the cryptocurrency market. Investors should conduct thorough research and due diligence before investing into any cryptocurrency or blockchain-based platform. It is always better to be cautious than to fall prey to a scam.
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Investor Daniel Harper filed a proposed class action in Florida federal court claiming that O’Neal “should have known of potential concerns about regulatory issues concerning the sale of unregistered crypto securities” but promoted them anyway to further his crypto empire. O’Neal is one of several celebrity defendants named in a suit against founder Sam Bankman-Fried and stars who endorsed the FTX platform.
The suit details O’Neal’s promotion of the Astrals Project through a series of NFTs called the “Shaq Signature Pass.” O’Neal touted that “there will only ever be 50 of these in existence” and could only be earned by participating in the community or bidding on Astral tokens. He repeatedly promoted Astrals NFTs on his various social media accounts, urging investors to “hop on the wave before it’s too late.”
The question of whether O’Neal sold unregistered securities will be considered through the Howey Test, a standard that emerged in a 1946 Supreme Court case for determining whether a transaction qualifies as an investment contract. Factors include the investment of money into a common enterprise where there’s an expectation of profits from the efforts of third parties. The suit alleges that Astrals NFTs meet all the criteria to be considered a security.
In response to criticism within the crypto industry about a lack of regulatory clarity surrounding the issue, Adam Moskowitz, a lawyer for Harper, argues in the complaint that “securities regulation is not meant to be precise but is instead intentionally drafted to be broad and all-encompassing.” He adds, “Clarity is not just uncommon; it is deliberately avoided.”
This news story highlights the importance of understanding the legal and regulatory implications of using technology like NFTs and cryptocurrency. As the use of these technologies becomes more widespread, it is crucial for companies and individuals to prioritize compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The