U.S. SEC fines media firms over $539 million for illegal securities offerings

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FILE PHOTO: The seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seen at their headquarters in Washington, D.C.

(Reuters) – Three media companies have agreed to pay more than $539 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges over illegal offerings of stock and digital assets, the regulator said on Monday.

The SEC charged New York-based GTV Media Group Inc. and Saraca Media Group Inc and Phoenix-based Voice of Guo Media Inc with the illegal unregistered offering of GTV common stock. GTV and Saraca were also charged with the illegal unregistered offering of a digital asset security called G-Coins or G-Dollars.

Attorneys for the companies, which did not admit or deny the SEC’s findings, did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The firms solicited thousands of individuals to invest in the GTV stock offering from April through June 2020 through the firms’ websites and on social media platforms, according to the SEC. GTV and Saraca also solicited individuals to invest in the digital asset offering. Altogether, the firms raised about $487 million from more than 5,000 investors through the offerings.

To settled the charges, GTV and Saraca agreed to disgorge over $434 million plus prejudgment interest of approximately $16 million, and to each pay a civil penalty of $15 million, the SEC said.

Voice of Guo also agreed to a cease-and-desist order, to pay disgorgement of more than $52 million plus prejudgment interest of nearly $2 million, and to pay a civil penalty of $5 million.

(Reporting by Chris Prentice and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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