Trade Coin Club scammers evading service in SEC case
Scammers behind the Trade Coin Club Ponzi scheme are evading service by the SEC.
In an April 6th Status Report, the regulator detailed efforts to serve Keleionalani Taylor, Douver Braga and Joff Paradise.
Trade Coin Club was an MLM crypto Ponzi scheme that collapsed in 2018. As alleged by the SEC, TCC defrauded consumers out of around $300 million (~82,000 BTC).
TCC’s owner, Douver Braga, fled Florida for Brazil after the Ponzi collapsed. Braga is believed to have made off with around 8396 BTC.
As detailed by the SEC in their report;
On November 14, 2022, the SEC sent an email to an attorney who had stated that he represents Braga which attached a copy of the filed complaint and the waiver of service forms.
The SEC asked the attorney whether Braga is willing to waive service.
On November 22, 2022, the attorney responded that he was not willing to accept service on his client’s behalf and understood that the SEC would be proceeding in the normal course to serve Braga.
Braga was aided by then partner in crime Joff Paradise. Paradise (right) was Trade Coin Club’s US Director.
As with Braga, Paradise, a US national, fled to Panama after Trade Coin Club collapsed.
The SEC alleges Paradise stole at least 238.97 BTC from Trade Coin Club investors.
On November 7, 2022, the SEC sent an email to an attorney who had previously stated that he represented Paradise which attached a copy of the filed complaint and the wavier of service forms.
The SEC asked the attorney whether Paradise is willing to waive service. The attorney did not respond.
Outside of Paradise, Keleionalani Taylor was Trade Coin Club’s top US earner. The SEC alleges Taylor, a Hawaii resident, made off with 185.55 BTC.
Prior to filing this action, the SEC had conversations with Taylor and her lawyer about this case.
On November 9, 2022, the SEC sent an email to the lawyer attaching the filed complaint and waiver of service forms.
The SEC asked the lawyer to forward the documents Taylor and to ask Taylor whether she would waive service.
On November 11, 2022, the lawyer responded via email that he no longer represents Taylor and did not forward the documents to her.
Shortly thereafter, the SEC hired a national service or process company to effect service on Taylor (the “process server”).
The process server identified several addresses associated with Taylor through records searches and other means.
The process servers went to these physical locations on multiple occasions including: two times in November 2022, three times in December 2022, three times in January 2023, and three times in March 2023.
On March 4, 2023, the process server placed a call to a telephone phone number associated with Taylor in a records database.
A female answered the phone call. When the process server addressed the person on the call as “Keleionalani Taylor,” she responded and did not deny that was her identity.
She refused to state where she is presently living. She also stated that a judge from the Hawaiian Kingdom had told her that she is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
The Hawaiian Kingdom hasn’t been a thing since the 1800s.
And Taylor’s denial of US jurisdiction gets even more amusing with her failed run for Governor of Hawaii last year.
The process server is continuing efforts to serve Taylor, and the SEC is considering methods of alternative service.
Looking forward, the SEC has initiated service via the Hague Convention on Braga and Paradise.
An additional 90 days was requested to effect service on Taylor, failing which ‘the SEC will file either a motion for alternative service or a status report by July 7, 2023.’
The court granted the SEC’s motion on April 7th. With respect to Braga and Paradise, the SEC has been directed to file another Status Report in October if service hasn’t been effected.
Update 13th July 2023 – As per an affidavit filed on June 20th;
Keleionalani Taylor was personally served with the Summons and Complaint on June 6, 2023, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
As at the time of this update, there are no further updates on the TCC case docket.
Update 13th October 2023 – Following an October 5th Status Report from the SEC, the court has acknowledged difficulty in serving Douver Braga and Joff Paradise are evading service.
Plaintiff explains that both Braga and Paradise have refused to waive service and that Plaintiff is proceeding to serve both individuals under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(f) by using an internationally agreed means of service or another means that is not prohibited by international agreement.
The court has given the SEC 180 days from October 10th, after which another Status Report must be filed (April 5th, 2024).