A former executive of Hydrogen Technology Corp, Shane Hampton, has been found guilty by a Florida federal jury for orchestrating a scheme to manipulate the price of the company’s native cryptocurrency token, Hydro. This conviction adds to the company’s existing legal troubles with the US securities regulator, which were resolved with a $2.8 million payment in April 2023.
Automated Crypto Price Manipulation Tactics Unveiled
Shane Hampton and his associates utilized an automated trading bot, contracted through a third-party firm, to manipulate the price of Hydro token on a US-based cryptocurrency exchange. This bot executed fraudulent “wash trades” and “spoof trades” totalling $7 million and $300 million, respectively, flooding the market with fake orders from October 2018 to April 2019.
Hampton’s sentencing is scheduled for April 29, facing a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit securities price manipulation and up to 20 years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The company’s CEO, Michael Kane, also faced legal issues in September 2022 for unregistered sales of Hydro tokens and manipulation of trading volume and price, generating over $2 million in profits for Hydrogen. Similarly, engineer Andrew Chorlian pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to wire fraud and price manipulation and is awaiting sentencing.
The conviction announcement was made jointly by legal authorities from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Southern District of Florida, and the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.
Impact on Hydrogen Technology Corp and Crypto Markets
Hampton’s conviction sheds light on the challenges faced by cryptocurrency companies in maintaining transparency and integrity within the market. It underscores the importance of regulatory oversight to prevent fraudulent activities that could harm investors and erode trust in the crypto ecosystem.
This case also highlights the growing scrutiny from regulatory agencies like the SEC, signalling the need for stricter enforcement measures to curb illicit practices in the cryptocurrency space.