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US SEC fines media companies over $ 539 million for illegal securities offers

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FILE PHOTO: The seal of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is visible at their headquarters in Washington, DC, United States, May 12, 2021. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly / File Photo

(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 stocks and digital assets, announced Monday the regulator.

The SEC has indicted New York-based GTV Media Group Inc., Saraca Media Group Inc, and Phoenix-based Voice of Guo Media Inc, for the unlawful unregistered offer of GTV common stock. GTV and Saraca have also been charged with unlawful unregistered offering of a digital asset security called G-Coins or G-Dollars.

Lawyers for the companies, who neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The companies approached thousands of people to invest in the GTV stock offering from April to June 2020 through company websites and social media platforms, according to the SEC. GTV and Saraca have also solicited individuals to invest in the digital asset offering. In total, the companies raised approximately $ 487 million from more than 5,000 investors through the offers.

To settle the charges, GTV and Saraca agreed to return more than $ 434 million plus pre-judgment interest of about $ 16 million, and each pay a civil fine of $ 15 million, the SEC said.

Voice of Guo also agreed to a cease and desist order, to pay restitution of over $ 52 million plus pre-judgment interest of nearly $ 2 million, and to pay a civil fine of $ 5 million. dollars.

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

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