A Tennessee couple, Michael and Amanda Griffis, are facing charges for their involvement in a fraudulent investment scheme called “Blessings of God Thru Crypto.” According to a complaint filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on July 24, the Griffises used their connections in the real estate business to convince over 100 victims to invest a total of $6 million into a supposed multi-million dollar investment pool between July 2022 and January 2023. The victims included mortgage brokers and former customers of the Griffises’ real estate business.
The CFTC stated that despite having no relevant experience in trading or investments, the Griffises were able to deceive their victims into sending them money for their purported commodity pool called “Blessings of God Thru Crypto.” The victims were told that their funds would be used for trading crypto futures contracts, but the CFTC found that not a single trade was ever conducted. The defendants falsely represented that the pool funds would be safe and under their control, promising high gains for participants.
Instead of using the pooled funds for trading as promised, the Griffises allegedly transferred around $4 million to digital wallets outside of their control. They also misappropriated over $1 million to pay off personal debts and purchase expensive items over several months. Examples of these unauthorized expenses include $10,000 in college tuition for family members, $20,000 for an all-terrain vehicle, and $335,000 to pay off credit card debt.
The CFTC has charged the couple with defrauding their victims and failing to register with the commission. In its complaint, the CFTC requested a permanent injunction against the Griffises and any potential collaborators, prohibiting them from participating in future transactions involving commodity interests. Additionally, the CFTC requested full restitution to anyone who suffered losses from the scheme and proposed civil penalties against the Griffises.
The CFTC acknowledged that achieving full restitution may be challenging, as the alleged wrongdoers are likely to have insufficient funds or assets. The commission warned investors to be cautious and to thoroughly research any investment opportunities before participating. It also emphasized the importance of dealing only with registered individuals and entities in the investment industry.
Michael and Amanda Griffis are associated with Exit Realty Screamin’ Eagle based in Clarksville, Tennessee, according to their LinkedIn profiles. Amanda is listed as a “Broker/Co-Owner,” while Michael is listed as a “Realtor.” Cointelegraph reached out to the Griffises for comment but has not received a response at the time of writing.
This case highlights the risks associated with fraudulent investment schemes in the cryptocurrency industry and serves as a reminder for investors to exercise caution and due diligence. Authorities such as the CFTC play a crucial role in investigating and prosecuting such scams, helping to protect investors and maintain the integrity of the financial markets.