Former NBA great ordered to pay $1.4M for SEC violations

The commission said Pierce agreed to pay $1.409 million in penalties, disgorgement, and interest to settle the charges.

Pierce made public statements about EthereumMax and promoted the tokens on social media.

″@espn I don’t need you,” Pierce said in a tweet in May 2021. “I got @ethereum_max I made more money with this crypto in the past month then I did with y’all in a year.”

This was a month after Pierce, then an NBA analyst with ESPN parted ways, after a video with Pierce and exotic dancers surfaced on Instagram.

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The SEC said Pierce failed to say that he was compensated for that promotion and that EMAX tokens were worth over $244,000.

The Securities and Exchange Commission enforces the law against market manipulation as well as to ‘protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation.’

Pierce is prohibited from promoting any crypto asset securities for the next three years.

‘This case is yet another reminder to celebrities: The law requires you to disclose to the public from whom and how much you are getting paid to promote investment in securities, and you can’t lie to investors when you tout a security,’ said SEC Chair Gary Gensler in a statement. ‘When celebrities endorse investment opportunities, including crypto-asset securities, investors should be careful to research if the investments are right for them, and they should know why celebrities are making those endorsements.’

Pierce was originally part of a federal class action lawsuit by investors who purchased EMAX tokens.  The lawsuit included high-profile celebrities such as Antonio Brown, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Kim Kardashian, with the investors claiming to suffer financial losses based on the word of those celebrities. The lawsuit was thrown out in December.

Pierce, a 10-time NBA All-Star, played 19 seasons with the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Clippers, winning a title with the Celtics in 2008 and being named Finals MVP. 

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