Was the beverage company involved in a pump-and-dump scheme?
Sweetening the Deal
Beverage firm Long Island Iced Tea — now known as Long Blockchain — is being investigated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for insider trading and securities fraud.
Court records obtained by Quartz show that the FBI is investigating suspicious dealings that date back to December 2017 — around the time when the beverage company changed its name and shifted its "primary corporate focus" from selling sweetened iced tea to blockchain. The company's stock shot up by almost 300 percent after it announced the pivot in late 2017.
The FBI is focusing in on secretive phone message conversations about Long Island Iced Tea between two men, Oliver Lindsay and Gannon Giguiere, who were previously arrested for securities fraud related to a different company, according to Quartz. The FBI suspects that they were directly involved with insider trading of the company's stock.
Search warrants were also sent out to other individuals who shared sensitive information via WhatsApp and traded company stocks around the time of the pivot.
The Bureau also suspects that Long Island Iced Tea was involved in a pump-and-dump scheme wherein investors bought cheap stocks, promoted them, and then sold them after their value shot up.
More on blockchain fraud: Crypto Exec Arrested for “Multibillion-Dollar Pyramid Scheme”
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