Entertainment

Lindsay Lohan, Akon and Ne-Yo fined thousands of dollars after illegal crypto promotion

Actress Lindsay Lohan, rapper Akon and singer Ne-Yo have been forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to settle claims they promoted crypto investments to their social media followers without disclosing they were being paid to do so.

The group of celebrities, which also included rapper Lil Yachty, boxer and internet personality Jake Paul and adult film performer Michelle Mason, agreed to pay more than £325,000 ($400,000) to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The celebrities were paid to promote crypto companies Tronix and BitTorrent to their millions of followers on social media.

None of the celebrities who paid fines admitted or denied the SEC’s findings.

Two other famous figures, rapper Soulja Boy and pop singer Austin Mahone, did not reach a settlement with the SEC.

A spokesperson for Ms Lohan, who announced she was pregnant last week, said the actress was contacted in March 2022 and at the time was unaware of the requirement to disclose payment for promotion and agreed to pay a fine.

She returned the £8,141 ($10,000) she was paid plus interest and paid a £24,425 ($30,000) fine.

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Representatives for the other celebrities either declined to comment or did not return requests for comment.

Major public figures including Matt Damon, Tom Brady and Reese Witherspoon have used their influence and massive social media following to promote cryptocurrencies in recent years.

But it is illegal to do so without disclosing that they are being paid.

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This has landed some big names in trouble with US regulators.

Reality television star Kim Kardashian agreed to pay a £813,635 ($1m) fine last year to settle federal charges after she recommended Ethereum Max tokens without disclosing she was paid to do so.

Actor Steven Seagal was banned from promoting investments for three years and forced to pay a £244,102 ($300,000) fine as part of a similar settlement in 2020.

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