The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released two more pages Sep. 8 responsive to a Freedom of Information Act request for records pertaining to SafeMoon and submitted by Expanding Frontiers Research. The latest material obtained from the FTC reflects a consumer complaint leveled at a bogus web extension purporting to be associated with an online cryptocurrency wallet. The individual reported they lost over $15,000 invested in SafeMoon coins and hundreds of hours of time trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issue after a criminal gained access to their assets in January 2022. The complainant further explained the fake extension, calling itself Polkadot, was offered on the Google app store and had what are described as hundreds of fake 5-star ratings posted by sockpuppet accounts. The goal of the scam is to gain information needed to rob assets from the victim, the complainant suggested.
“I know I will never see my investment back to me,” they wrote the FTC, “but I prefer the person who stole it never gains anything from it.”
The latest responsive records do not directly involve SafeMoon activities, yet nonetheless suggest the vulnerabilities and lack of recourse inherent to many online financial transactions. The material obtained Friday from the FTC is in addition to 143 complaints filed with the agency against SafeMoon and already released to EFR, as previously reported.
FOIA requests seeking info on SafeMoon and submitted to the FTC were part of a wider investigation into individuals who promote both cryptocurrency and dubious UFO stories. Along with the FTC, records pertaining to SafeMoon were received from the FBI, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Browse a folder containing correspondence and records received from each agency, including a successfully submitted appeal of documents withheld by the CFPB and its administrative response. EFR continues to await a final release of the appealed material.
The vast majority of the complaints filed and obtained to date show consumers who indicate they believe SafeMoon personnel willfully manipulated the coin and its software to deplete them of their investments. Problems for SafeMoon involved multiple class action lawsuits, including one reported in February 2022 that accused the company of conducting a “pump and dump” scam. It was alleged that the currency's value was artificially inflated to the benefit of those conducting the scheme, while investors lost their funds and complained they were obstructed from withdrawing their money as they watched it dwindle.
In spite of a widely reported SafeMoon 2021 crash and February 2022 lawsuit, controversial cast member of The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch and purveyor of unsubstantiated paranormal tales, Brandon Fugal, continued to promote the volatile cryptocurrency. He used his high-profile social media accounts to tell followers about his SafeMoon optimism and relationship with its management.
When his position was challenged, Fugal defended his knowledge of investing in cryptocurrency as late as March 2022 and stated he owned more SafeMoon than most. He would later tell EFR in a February 2023 email he lost over 90 percent of his investment in SafeMoon.