The former CEO of the failed cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius Network misled investors, leading them “down a path of financial ruin,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said Thursday in a lawsuit against Alex Mashinsky that seeks to ban him from doing business in the state.
In her lawsuit filed in state court in Manhattan, James said Mashinsky, a co-founder of Celsius, “engaged in a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of investors” by getting them to put billions of dollars’ worth of their digital assets in his platform.
The lawsuit alleges that Mashinsky promised hefty returns and said Celsius was as safe as a bank, but meanwhile was engaging in risky investments and not telling investors when those investments failed.
Celsius filed for bankruptcy last year, after halting its operations in June.
Emails seeking comment were sent to Mashinsky’s lawyers.
Celsius’ failure was part of a slew of problems in the cryptocurrency industry last year, along with the collapse of stablecoin Terra, and the implosion of lending platform FTX.