Trade Coin Club Ponzi scammers sued by SEC (82,000+ BTC)
Trade Coin Club’s owner, Director and two US-based promoters have been sued by the SEC.
Defendants Douver Torres Braga, Joff Paradise, Keleionalani Akana Taylor and Jonathan Tetreault, are alleged to have stolen almost $300 million from consumers.
Trade Coin Club was a Ponzi scheme, reviewed here on BehindMLM back in 2017.
Five years later, the SEC’s November 4th TCC press-release confirms BehindMLM’s research and findings;
Trade Coin Club (was) a fraudulent crypto Ponzi scheme that raised more than 82,000 bitcoin, valued at $295 million at the time, from more than 100,000 investors worldwide, including at least 2,500 investors in the United States.
Special mention goes to serial Ponzi promoter J. Ryan Conley, who at the time claimed he “support(ed) the mission at TCC and we have great plans to feed the needy”.
In reality, like all MLM Ponzi schemes, Trade Coin Club only enriched its owners and top promoters.
Getting back to the SEC’s lawsuit, here’s the cited backgrounds on the TCC defendants:
- Douver Torres Braga – Trade Coin Club’s owner, fled Florida for Brazil (also promoted the WCM777 Ponzi scheme)
- Joff Paradise – Trade Coin Club’s US Director, US national who fled Nevada for Panama (also tied to AirBit Club and AI Trade Ponzi schemes)
- Keleionalani Taylor – Trade Coin Club’s top US-based earner, ran Trade Coin Club Team Mega (lived in Washington, moved to Hawaii)
- Jonathan Tetreault – Massachusetts based Trade Coin Club promoter and earner
Trade Coin Club was a typical MLM crypto Ponzi scheme. The ruse used to defraud investors was trading – still the number one MLM Ponzi ruse five years on.
(Trade Coin Club) was marketed as an opportunity to profit from the supposed crypto asset trading activities of Trade Coin Club’s alleged crypto asset trading bot.
In reality, Trade Coin Club operated in a manner consistent with a Ponzi scheme.
Braga shared the office and staff with a company called “Trade by Trade,” a newly formed crypto asset trading platform.
Braga depicted the two organizations as one combined business and created the false impression that Trade by Trade conducted crypto asset
trading activities for Trade Coin Club.
Trade Coin Club had no external source of funding for investor withdrawals or redemptions, such as profits from trading.
Instead, investor withdrawals were paid solely with investor deposits.
Specifically, 99.96% of investors’ bitcoin withdrawals were funded by other investor deposits.
Trade Coin Club launched in late 2016.
Paradise marketed Trade Coin Club as a passive investment that was well suited for individuals with limited funds and without any experience in trading.
In a recording from December 20, 2016, Paradise stated “[s]o what we’ve done is taken a guy that doesn’t know anything about trading, the mom that has three kids that’s on social security or on welfare and she has a little bit of – she has some bitcoin and maybe somebody gave her … we’ve figured out how to let her do that and be able to make money every day and not lose a dime.”
In several recordings, Paradise falsely stated that Trade Coin Club was “licensed” and “insured.”
By October 2017 the Ponzi scheme was falling apart.
Trade Coin Club investor deposits peaked in June 2017, and investor withdrawals started to exceed deposits by September 2017.
In November 2017 Trade Coin Club initiated the TCoin exit-scam.
This continued through 2018, with the banning of US investors.
In or around January 2018, Trade Coin Club announced that it was withdrawing from the United States and closing U.S. residents’ accounts. Investors received a notice in the Back Office titled “WE HAVE THE REGRET TO ANNOUNCE THAT WE WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTING U.S. INDIVIDUALS.”
February 2018 saw Trade Coin Club execute its TCoin exit-scam;
In February 2018, Trade Coin Club announced that it would no longer pay withdrawals in bitcoin but would require investors to withdraw funds in TCoin instead.
In May 2018 Douver Braga cashed out and Trade Coin Club effectively collapsed.
At an event in Dubai, on May 25-26, 2018, Braga announced that he would be stepping down from Trade Coin Club. Subsequently, many investors could no longer access their Trade Coin Club Back Office accounts or withdraw any bitcoin or TCoin.
Joff Paradise (right) cashed out two months later in July.
On July 11, 2018, Paradise announced his resignation from Trade Coin Club.
Contrary to baloney about “mums on social security” and “feeding the needy”,
many Trade Coin Club investors were unable to withdraw their crypto assets before Trade Coin Club collapsed and lost most or all of the principal they invested.
To counter BehindMLM’s review of Trade Coin Club and dissuade investors from asking uncomfortable questions, Braga and Paradise crushed internal dissent.
Throughout Trade Coin Club’s period of operations, potential investors raised concerns that it may be a Ponzi scheme.
Braga and Paradise were aware of these concerns and took steps to stop individuals from raising similar concerns, including in the online chat rooms and social media channels related to Trade Coin Club.
For example, in response to a post on September 19, 2017 claiming that TCC was a scam, Paradise separately messaged another promoter:
“Dude can you please get that group under control???” and “Get that person out of that group please.”
Braga attempted to remove negative information from the internet concerning Trade Coin Club and his involvement.
In late 2017, Braga hired a search engine optimization specialist to minimize negative reviews concerning Trade Coin Club and its associates, including to improve Braga’s reputation online.
Braga also filed a lawsuit against Google in Brazil seeking to remove online content accusing Braga of perpetrating a Ponzi scheme through Trade Coin Club.
Although I don’t typically discuss it, BehindMLM is routinely the target of threats and legal action from scammers we report on.
In the case of Trade Coin Club, where the gap between BehindMLM being on the frontlines and regulatory action taken is five years, this can be a difficult environment to navigate.
Of the 82,000 Trade Coin Club solicited from investors;
- Douver Braga stole at least 8396 BTC (~$55 million)
- Joff Paradise stole at least 238.97 BTC
- Jonathan Tetreault stole 158.78 BTC
- Keleionalani Taylor stole 185.55 BTC
For their part in running and/or helping to run an MLM Ponzi scheme that defrauded consumers out of 82,000+ BTC, the SEC has charged Braga, Paradise and Taylor with violations of the Securities and Exchange Act.
Jonathan Tetreault (right) has been sued separately. He’s up for violations of the Securities Act and Exchange Act across two claims of relief.
The SEC’s two Trade Coin Club lawsuits were filed on November 3rd. Taylor and Tetreault are believed to be cooperating.
BehindMLM is tracking both TCC lawsuits. We’ll keep you posted.
Update 6th November 2022 – Keleionalani Taylor appears to have moved on from MLM crypto Ponzi scamming to politics.
As of July 2022, Taylor was running for O’ahu Governor in Hawaii:
The Hawaii primaries were held in August. A summary report reveals Taylor received 12.2% of the vote
In any event, I’d assume being a Defendant in a federal securities fraud lawsuit is probably the end of Taylor’s political aspirations.
Update 29th November 2022 – Jonathan Tetreault has settled with the SEC.