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SEC Charges Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff with Fraud for Promotion of 2018 ICO

UTC by Teuta Franjkovic · 3 min read
SEC Charges Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff with Fraud for Promotion of 2018 ICO
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The SEC has filed civil charges against Abramoff and Andrade in addition to the criminal charges. Andrade hired Abramoff in 2017 to “work on a public relations and marketing campaign” for the cryptocurrency, called AML Bitcoin.

The United States government announced recently that lobbyist and former criminal Jack Abramoff had agreed to plead guilty to violating a federal lobbying disclosure law regarding the purported counterfeit offering of the cryptocurrency AML Bitcoin. Abramoff together with the chief executive of NAC Foundation Rowland Marcus Andrade was accused of plotting in order to make false and misleading statements to promising cryptocurrency buyers. Andrade was also criminally charged in connection with the offering. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday announced similar charges against NAC, Andrade and Abramoff. Abramoff, who already was in prison for four years for bribing U.S. officials in a case that became synonymous with government corruption, also agreed to settle with the SEC.

Three Years of Probation Have Passed

On March 29, 2006, Abramoff was sentenced to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials.

Key to Abramoff’s conviction was exactly his lobbying efforts that began back in the 1990s on behalf of Native American tribes seeking to establish gambling on reservations.

Abramoff was released in 2010 and was then subject to three years on probation.

After his conviction in 2006, Abramoff worked in the investigation of his relationships with Congress members, including aides, business associates, government officials, and lawmakers. However, it all led to representatives DeLay and Ney both stepping down from their positions in Congress. DeLay was charged with money laundering and conspiracy of channeling corporate “donations” to state candidates. Ney admitted guilt to conspiracy to commit fraud and making false statements. In exchange for gifts, luxury trips, and political donations from Abramoff, DeLay and Ney were charged using their positions in Congress to grant favors to Abramoff’s clients and lobbying team.

Moral Lobbyist

Since being released, Abramoff has spoken out against corruption in politics. He has stated that he believed himself to be a “moral lobbyist” and has apologized for his actions.

Investigative journalist Susan Schmidt then stated:

“Abramoff couldn’t have flourished if this system, itself, was not corrupt, where the need for money—the members of Congress and their need for money—is so voracious and so huge that they don’t have their guard up.”

In his memoir, Abramoff reflected on personal and professional reform saying:

“Regardless of my rationalizations, I was the one who didn’t disclose to my clients that there was a conflict of interest… I wasn’t the devil that the media were so quick to create, but neither was I the saint I always hoped to become. …I decided that, in order to move myself close to the angels, I would take what happened in my life, try to learn from it, and use it to educate others.”

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