Rapper, actor, producer, club owner, investor. T.I. has long been a proponent of diversifying his streams of income and is known as a keen entrepreneur that is always quick to impart financial wisdom and advice on his followers.
However, it's that same eagerness that recently landed the Atlanta rapper in trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was charged by the SEC as part of Atlanta-based movie producer Ryan Felton's fraud scheme. The charges allege that Felton "misappropriated funds" and "engaged in manipulative trading" to inflate the price of the Spark tokens he was offering.
Felton first recruited Tip to promote FLiK, who then "falsely claim[ed] to be a FliK co-owner and encourag[ed] his followers to invest in the FLiK ICO," according to an SEC press release.
An ICO, or initial coin offering, refers to an Internet-based method of crowdfunding for new cryptocurrencies.
Lars Niki/Getty Images for BETTip, along with his social media manager, William Sparks, were charged with promoting fraudulent ICOs that were not registered with the SEC. The two have since settled their civil charges with the SEC, paying a $75,000 fine and agreeing to refrain from marketing or selling securities for a minimum of five years.
In a statement given to HipHopDX, a representative for T.I. asserted that the rapper "regrets his involvement with Mr. Felton." The SEC's claim alleges that Felton used the misappropriated funds he embezzled and "the proceeds of his manipulative trading to buy a Ferrari, a million-dollar home, diamond jewelry, and other luxury goods."