The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused Brian Sewell, founder of American Bitcoin Academy’s online cryptocurrency course, and his company Rockwell Capital Management of fraud.
The charges relate to an alleged scheme to defraud students of the online course.
According to the SEC, Sewell encouraged his online students to invest in the Rockwell Fund, a hedge fund that he claimed would use artificial intelligence and cryptoasset trading strategies to generate returns. The SEC alleges that Sewell received approximately $1.2 million from 15 students but never launched the fund or implemented the advertised trading strategies.
Instead, he allegedly kept the deposited money in Bitcoin, which was later stolen when Sewell’s digital wallet was hacked.
SEC’s Enforcement Division Director, Gurbir S. Grewal, said the following in his statement:
“We allege that Sewell defrauded students at the online American Bitcoin Academy out of over a million dollars by lying about investment opportunities at his so-called crypto hedge fund. Among other things, it falsely claimed that its investment strategies would be guided by its own ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘machine learning’ technology, which, like the fund itself, never existed.
“Whether it is artificial intelligence, crypto, DeFi or another buzzword, the SEC will continue to hold accountable those who claim to use ostentatious technologies to lure and defraud investors.”
*This is not investment advice.