SEC Obtains Emergency Asset Freeze, Charges Crypto Fund Manager with Fraud
Washington D.C., Dec. 28, 2020 —
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it filed an emergency action and obtained an order imposing an asset freeze and other emergency relief against Virgil Capital LLC and its affiliated companies in connection with an alleged securities fraud relating to Virgil Capital’s flagship cryptocurrency trading fund, Virgil Sigma Fund LP. The Commission’s action alleges that the fraud was directed by Stefan Qin, an Australian citizen and part-time resident of New York, who owns and controls Virgil Capital and its affiliated companies.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Qin and his entities have been defrauding investors in the Sigma Fund since at least 2018 by making material misrepresentations about the fund’s strategy, assets, and financial condition. The complaint alleges that the defendants misled investors to believe their money was being used solely for cryptocurrency trading based on a proprietary algorithm, while Qin and the entities used investment proceeds for personal purposes or for other undisclosed high-risk investments. Since at least July 2020, Qin and Virgil Capital have told investors who requested redemptions from the Sigma Fund that their interests would be transferred instead to another fund under the ultimate control of Qin but with separate management and operations, the VQR Multistrategy Fund LP. The complaint alleges that no funds were transferred and the redemption requests remain outstanding. The SEC’s complaint further alleges that Qin is actively attempting to misappropriate assets from the VQR Fund and to raise new investments in the Sigma Fund.
“This emergency action is an important step to protect investor assets and prevent further harm,” said Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. “Qin allegedly made false promises to lure investors and then continued his deception to conceal his misuse of investor funds.”
The SEC’s complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York on Dec. 22, 2020, charges Qin, Virgil Technologies LLC, Montgomery Technologies LLC, Virgil Quantitative Research LLC, Virgil Capital LLC, and VQR Partners LLC with violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, and seeks permanent injunctions, including conduct-based injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.
The SEC’s ongoing investigation is being conducted by Fitzann Reid of the San Francisco Regional Office and Amanda Straub of the Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. The litigation will be led by Susan LaMarca, Ms. Straub, and Ms. Reid, and the case is being supervised by Steven Buchholz and Ms. Littman of the Cyber Unit.