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Forsage Founders Charged by SEC

Forsage Founders Charged By SEC For $300M Ponzi Scheme.

A scheme known as Forsage operating in the USA and other nations which has successfully garnered more than $300m has been charged by the Securities Exchange Commission SEC for operating a Ponzi scheme.

Forsage Founders Charged by SEC

Three US-based promoters, promoting the scheme were charged alongside the four founders Vladimir Okhotnikov, Lola Ferrari, Mikhail Sergeav and Sergey Maslakov who investigators believe are residing in Russia, the republic of Georgia and Indonesia. A total of 11 individuals were charged for their roles in promoting the fraudulent crypto pyramid and Ponzi scheme known as Forsage.

In January 2020, Forsage was launched by Vladimir Okhotnikov, Lola Ferrari, Mikhail Sergeav and Sergey Maslakov as a website that allowed millions of retail investors to enter into transactions via smart contracts that operated Ethereum, Tron, and Binance blockchain. Nonetheless, SEC reports that Forsage has operated a pyramid scheme for more than 2 years which encourages investors to recruit others to earn profits. Also, Forsage has allegedly used assets from new investors to pay earlier investors in a typical Ponzi scheme.

Despite cease-and-desist actions issued to Forsage for creating and operating a fraudulent scheme by the SEC Philippines in September 2020 and the Montana Commissioner of Security and Insurance in March 2021, the defendant allegedly continued to promote the scheme while denying via social platforms SEC claims.

The SEC complaint seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement and civil penalties against the four founders and seven individuals of Pelanatchie, Coeur d’ Alene, Louisville, Henrico, Chicago, Dunedin and Hartford in a compliant file in the US district court of Northern Illinois for violating antifraud provisions. Two defendants neither admitted nor denied the allegation but agreed to settle the charges for disgorgement and civil penalties.


The SEC has been extremely clear on  digital assets qualifying as securities if they pass the Howey test. Hence, Forsage Founders were charged by SEC for issuing securities and not registering with the commission.  According to the Howey test, an “investment contract” arises wherever funds are invested in a joint venture with a reasonable expectation that benefits will result from others’ efforts.

Slots owned by investors in Forsage’s smart contracts, along with the rights of those investors to compensation from sales of those slots and profit sharing from spillover payments made through those slots, were investment contracts that qualified as securities and whose offer or sale was neither exempt from registration under federal securities laws or registered with the Commission as required.

Using Ethereum, Tron, or Binance tokens, investors made a financial commitment to a shared venture with the expectation that earnings would only come from the labor of the defendants or other third parties.

In addition, the Founders coded one of Forsage’s smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain (Forsage xGold) to divert a portion of investor funds to a crypto-asset wallet that was not associated with a Forsage ID assigned to any investor, hence a fraudulent act.


As a result of the conduct alleged in this Complaint, Defendants violated Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 77e; Section 17(a) of the Securities Act, 15 U.S.C. § 77q(a); and Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b), 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5. Unless restrained and enjoined, defendants are reasonably likely to continue to violate the federal securities laws.

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Chioma Onyekelu is a highly skilled and accomplished professional in the field of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. She is a Certified Cryptocurrency Investigator and Crypto Compliance Specialist, as well as a Blockchain Forensic Specialist and a teacher. She is also a public speaker and her teachings include consultations and practical solutions for African Start-ups on the best and most cost-effective way to build with compliance in mind. With a wealth of knowledge and experience in these cutting-edge technologies, she is well-equipped to navigate the complex landscape of cryptocurrency-related crimes.

In her current role as a Blockchain Forensic Specialist at A&D Forensics, Chioma is responsible for tracing and investigating cryptocurrency-related crimes, as well as training law enforcement agents and compliance officers on the latest developments and best practices in the field. In addition, she is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Blockchain and Digital Currencies at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, further solidifying her expertise and understanding of the technology.

Chioma's dedication and passion for the field is evident in her work, and she is committed to staying at the forefront of developments in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to provide the best possible service to her clients. Her exceptional skills in educating and consulting make her a valuable asset to the industry and an authority in the field of Blockchain and Crypto Compliance.


Adedeji is a Forensic Investigation Practitioner and CertifiedBlockchain/Cryptocurrency Forensic
Investigator (CFE, CCI, CCFI & Reactor Certified) with more than Fifteen years of experience across few banks within the Nigeria Financial Sector and educator in Corporate workplace settings, Deji is uniquely qualified and involved in forensics analysis of Financial Infractions, Cryptocurrency crimes and designing plans that works for Government, Regulators, Law enforcement.

He was appointed by SEC Nigeria as Member Virtual Asset and Fintech Regulatory framework drafting Committee, He is a member of Global Digital Finance’s KYC/AML working group in France and a member of the Industry led Thinktank that worked on and came out with FATF cryptocurrency Travel rule InterMessaging Standard for Virtual Assets (IVMS101) to help combat money laundering and terrorism financing using cryptocurrencies around the globe.

His law enforcement training efforts on new money and cybercrime have seen him train many law enforcement agents in various countries i.e Nigeria Police, Nigeria Army CyberWarfare command, Zambia Financial Intelligence Unit, Zambia Central Bank and more.
He is Chainalysis Sole Africa Investigative Partner helping law enforcement investigate criminal organizations using cryptocurrency to conceal illiccit activities across Africa, he is also a training Partner for Blockchain Intelligence Group based out of Canada.

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