Riot Blockchain Names Chris Ensey CEO After SEC Charges

Job Appointments | September 12, 2018 By:

Riot Blockchain Inc has named a new chief executive after the company’s previous boss was accused of involvement in securities fraud.

Chief operating officer Chris Ensey will take over the company after the Securities and Exchange Commission named former CEO John O’Rourke as one of several people involved in a long-running microcap “pump-and-dump” scheme.

The SEC claims manipulation of the share price of stocks in three unidentified companies, generating over $27 million from unlawful sales and leaving retail investors with “virtually worthless stock.”

The SEC also named Barry Honig, a former major Riot shareholder, among the individuals involved in the scheme.  The agency said Honig engaged in manipulative activity after taking ownership interests in the companies.

Sanjay Wadhwa of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement said the actors “engaged in brazen market manipulation that advanced their financial interests while fleecing innocent investors and undermining the integrity of our securities markets.”

Riot was not mentioned in the SEC’s complaint, but the company saw its stock price slump by over 24% in Friday after-market trading. It is a former biotech company that changed its name last year to allegedly reflect its new blockchain-focused strategies.