The judge in the case of the United States v. Maksim Zaslavskiy today issued his decision on the defendant's motion to dismiss. Zaslavskiy is accused of securities fraud stemming from two ICOs – for REcoin and Diamond Reserve Club – which both took place in 2017. The digital coins were marketed as being backed by real estate and diamonds, which, according to the criminal complaint, did not actually exist.
In the motion to dismiss, which was filed in February and heard in May, the defense attorney argued in part that these ICOs could not be prosecuted under securities law, because the digital coins offered were not securities – they were currencies.
Judge Raymond Dearie found that argument unconvincing. In his decision, he describes the alleged crimes as old-fashioned scams, dressed up with contemporary jargon:
"The label Zaslavskiy chooses to attach to the alleged scheme does not control our analysis … Nor does it camouflage the core nature of his alleged criminal endeavors. Stripped of the 21st-century jargon, including the Defendant's own characterization of the offered investment opportunities, the challenged Indictment charges a straightforward scam, replete with the common characteristics of many financial frauds."
Dearie was also unpersuaded by the defense's arguments that the relevant securities laws are unconstitutionally vague, ordering the case to continue to trial.