U.S. government charges U.S. businessman for allegedly defrauding physicians through crypto investment scheme

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that it has filed charges against an Ohio-based businessman for allegedly defrauding dozens of investors through a cryptocurrency investment scheme. 

The U.S. securities regulator said in a statement that "Michael W. Ackerman, along with two business partners, raised at least $33 million by claiming to investors that he had developed a proprietary algorithm that allowed him to generate extraordinary profits while trading in cryptocurrencies." Ackerman was formally accused of antifraud violations of U.S. securities law, according to the statement.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York also announced charges against Ackerman, according to a statement. Ackerman was arrested, per the statement.

Notably, the alleged scheme targeted "physicians in particular [who] made investments in two entities, Q3 Trading Club and Q3 I LP, when they were introduced to the digital currency investment opportunity by one of the business partners who also is a physician."

All told, according to the SEC, "approximately 150 investors" were allegedly targeted.

“As alleged in our complaint, Ackerman lured investors, many in the medical profession, into falsely believing that he generated extraordinary profits from his algorithmic trading strategy,” Eric I. Bustillo, the SEC's Miami Regional Office director, said in a statement. “Ackerman exploited popular interest in digital assets as a means to obtain millions of dollars for his personal use.”

According to the official complaint, the SEC is seeking disgorgement of gains as well as civil penalties against Ackerman. 

This story has been updated with additional information.