This week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published a press release announcing that Michael Stollery, "[t]he CEO of Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services Inc. (TBIS)[,] pleaded guilty ... for his role in a cryptocurrency fraud scheme involving TBIS's initial coin offering (ICO) that raised approximately $21 million from investors in the United States and overseas." According to the press release, Stollery admitted that he made a series of false and misleading statements to the purchasers of tokens in the TBIS ICO and commingled the ICO investors' funds with his personal funds, using a portion of the proceeds for personal expenses. Stollery pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison.

According to reports this week, two major U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges may be under investigation by government agencies. One report noted that, according to sources, a major U.S. exchange is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) related to certain cryptocurrency tokens listed on the exchange. Another report provides details on a reported investigation of another major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). According to reports, the OFAC investigation relates to alleged sanctions violations involving exchange customers in Iran, Syria and Cuba.

In a final development, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis has published The Chainalysis 2022 State of Cryptocurrency Investigations Survey. The survey polled a population of public sector employees on topics related to the successes and challenges of cryptocurrencies. Among other things, the survey respondents indicated the following sentiments: (1) cryptocurrency will advance the financial system in a positive way; (2) cryptocurrency is prevalent in a variety of crime types, including narcotics, fraud, theft and cybercrime; (3) accurate data, transaction visualization and training are critical for effective use of blockchain analytics tools; and (4) 74 percent indicated their government agency was currently not well-equipped to investigate cryptocurrency-related crime.

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