The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced it is taking “emergency action” against crypto hedge fund BKCoin and its co-founder Kevin Kang for “Ponzi-like conduct.”
According to a press release from the SEC, Kang’s fund raised approximately $100 million from 55 investors between October 2018 and September 2022. The investors were promised that the money would go towards buying crypto, but Kang instead used some of the money for personal expenses and to make “Ponzi-like payments,” the SEC said.
The SEC has now obtained permission to freeze the fund’s assets and take other emergency measures against the fund, which is registered in Miami, Florida.
The SEC’s complaint was originally filed on February 23, and unsealed this week.
Investor money used for vacations and apartment
The SEC’s complaint alleged that Kang commingled investor assets, despite promises to investors that their funds would be held in separately managed accounts and five private funds. It added that Kang used $3.6 million to make Ponzi-like payments to fund investors.
At least $371,000 of the investor’s money was used by Kang to pay for “vacations, sporting events tickets, and a New York City apartment,” the SEC further alleged.
Talked with pension funds and endowments
Kang has for several years had a high profile in the crypto world, and said in a panel discussion hosted by the Financial Times in 2022 that his fund had moved from talking with only specialized investors to more traditional asset allocators.
“When we first launched back in 2018, traditional allocators didn’t want to touch this asset class with a 10-foot pole. So, a lot of our clientele was more family offices and some funds with higher risk appetite,” Kang said at the time, adding that his fund is now talking to both pension funds and endowments as potential investors.