SEC settles with media groups for $539 million over stock, digital token offering

Three media groups have agreed to a $539 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over an alleged illegal securities offering in the form of stocks as well as digital tokens.

GTV Media Group Inc., Saraca Media Group Inc. and Voice of Guo Media Inc. will each pay individual penalties in addition to disgorgement. The SEC alleges the three solicited thousands to invest in its so-called "G-Coins" or "G-Dollars," as well as an unregistered offering of common stock. They found investors through social media and by posting informational videos on its own website and platforms like YouTube. 

In total, those efforts would yield $487 million from over 5,000 investors, according to the SEC. However, the agency said no disclosures or registrations were ever filed despite the fact that its investor base contained U.S. residents.

"Thousands of investors purchased GTV stock, G-Coins, and G-Dollars based on the respondents' solicitation of the general public with limited disclosures," Richard R. Best, Director of the SEC's New York Regional Office, said in a statement. "The remedies ordered by the Commission today, which include a fair fund distribution, will provide meaningful relief to investors in these illegal offerings."

The settlement does not admit to any wrongdoing. Still, GTV and Saraca agreed to a cease-and-desist order in addition to a $434 million disgorgement and civil penalties of $15 million each. Voice of Guo also agreed to a cease-and-desist with disgorgement of $52 million and a $5 million penalty.

The SEC's order will be posted on all sites and social media owned by the firms. They've also agreed to refrain from participating in any digital asset-based security offering in the future.