SEC files fraud charges against co-founder of Centra Tech

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against Raymond Trapani, the third co-founder of Centra Tech Inc., due to accusations of fraud surrounding an initial coin offering which raised $32 million and promised a crypto debit card.

“We allege that the Centra co-founders went to great lengths to create the false impression that they had developed a viable, cutting-edge technology,” said the SEC’s Robert Cohen. “Investors should exercise caution about investments in digital assets, especially when they are marketed with claims that seem too good to be true.”

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Trapani was the “mastermind” of the ICO that allegedly deceived investors with promises of partnerships with major credit card companies, misleading claims regarding the company’s product, false founder biographies, and manipulation of the company’s digital currency Centra Token.

The SEC also alleges that Trapani and the others knowingly engaged in fraud and point to a string of text messages as evidence of its claims.

“Text messages among the defendants reveal their fraudulent intent,” the complaint reads. “After receiving a cease-and-desist letter from a major bank directing him to remove any reference to the bank from Centra’s marketing materials, Sharma texted to Farkas and Trapani: ‘[w]e gotta get that s[***] removed everywhere and blame freelancers lol.’”  And, while trying to get the CTR Tokens listed on an exchange using phony credentials, Trapani texted Sharma to “cook me up” a false document, prompting Sharma to reply, “Don’t text me that s[***] lol.  Delete.”

In addition to the SEC’s complaints, Tech Crunch reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has announced criminal charges against Trapani.

“As alleged, Raymond Trapani conspired with his co-defendants to lure investors with false claims about their product and about relationships they had with credible financial institutions,” said Deputy U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami. “While investing in virtual currencies is legal, lying to deceive investors is not.”

In addition to the alleged deception, Centra’s ICO was bolstered by endorsements from celebrities such as recently retired boxer superstar Floyd Mayweather.

Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Product Review

LG's new V40 has 5 cameras, but ThinQ twice before you buy

The LG V40 ThinQ has five cameras -- three on the back and two on the front. This makes it one of the most versatile camera phones LG has released to date, and it’s creatively fun to use. Read on for more in-depth analysis.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.
Product Review

For picture quality on a budget, Vizio's new P-Series is absolutely unbeatable

Vizio’s P-Series TV line has always been the best among the brand’s long run of budget-friendly TVs, but this year’s model has really stepped up. While the competition is also improving, Vizio’s latest P-Series keeps the brand among…
Home Theater

Apple Music recommendations could get superpowers thanks to latest acquisition

Following the approval of its Shazam acquisition, a new report has surfaced saying that Apple has acquired music analytics firm Asaii, with its founders now members of the Apple Music team.
Wearables

Skydio’s self-flying drone now has an Apple Watch app for flight prep

Skydio's clever R1 autonomous drone now has its own Apple Watch app, making flight preparations simpler than ever. The $2,000 flying machine is now also selling at its first retail outlet — Apple Stores in North America.
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

You’re so vein: Palm-based biometric system could help confirm your identity

Move over, Face ID! The next biometric security systems could rely on analyzing the unique vein patterns in your palm print. Here are some of the ways the technology could prove useful.
Emerging Tech

For only $4,950, you can get jetpack lessons from the world’s only instructor

Have you ever dreamed of flying using a jetpack? JetPack Aviation founder -- and the world's only qualified jetpack teacher -- David Mayman is now offering a day of flight instruction.
Emerging Tech

Biologists have found a hormone that could make space farming possible

Researchers have shown how space farming may be possible. By encouraging plants to excrete a certain hormone, they’ve demonstrated that crops can thrive despite challenging conditions, such as low-nutrient soil and microgravity.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Emerging Tech

When tech goes wrong: Banksy’s shredder was meant to totally destroy his artwork

Banksy's recent auction stunt was meant to totally destroy one of his most famous pieces of work, but a fault with the shredder has left the buyer with something almost certainly worth far more than the $1 million she bid for it.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.