NBA legend Paul Pierce settles with SEC over allegedly false crypto statements

He plugged EthereumMax on Twitter without disclosing payments he received.

USA TODAY USPW / reuters

NBA Hall of Famer Paul “The Truth” Pierce agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission over a cryptocurrency he promoted on Twitter. The SEC charged Pierce with making false and misleading promotional statements about EthereumMax (EMAX) and failing to disclose the $244,000 payment in tokens he received for plugging it on social media.

The SEC said Pierce also posted a misleading screenshot of an account showing much more in EMAX holdings and profits than his account had. Pierce also tweeted a link to the currency’s website, including instructions on purchasing EMAX tokens. The government agency found that Pierce violated anti-touting and antifraud provisions of federal securities laws.

The retired NBA legend and former ESPN studio analyst didn’t admit or deny the SEC’s findings as part of the settlement. However, he did agree not to promote crypto for three years. Pierce’s case echoes Kim Kardashian’s $1.26 million settlement in October for plugging the same currency. Pierce and Kardashian were also sued last year for their involvement in the scheme.

“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 today. “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.”