Following the Florida class-action lawsuit filed against BitConnect and several top promoters, there’s been anticipation regarding how the named defendants will react.
One of BitConnect’s former top YouTube promoters, Trevon James, held a livestream earlier today to get “some things off (his) chest”.
What followed was almost an hour of denials and a barrage of indefensible victim-shaming.
At the core of Trevon James’ reaction to BitConnect’s collapse is the self-serving refusal to acknowledge it was a Ponzi scheme.
[40:42] BitConnect isn’t a Ponzi. It hasn’t been proved a Ponzi.
BitConnect was never proven a Ponzi. It shut down its operation because of the cease and desist.
That’s another misconception about the whole situation.
Misconception sure, but not how James construes it.
BitConnect solicited new investment into BCC points and then used that money to pay those that had already invested a daily ROI.
ROIs were paid out primarily through BitConnect’s internal exchange, which the company’s owns.
Acknowledging BitConnect was a Ponzi scheme would see Trevon James forced to reckon with the fact he convinced a ton of people to invest into it.
There’s both civil and criminal liability that comes with that. Promotion of unregistered securities (civil) and/or aiding and abetting wire fraud (criminal) are just two examples that come to mind.
Instead James appears to be making up his legal defense as he goes along.
Acknowledging he has yet to speak to an attorney, James continues to assert he hasn’t done anything wrong.
[2:14] Every time I upload a video someone says, “get a lawyer, you’re getting sued, dadadada…”
I’m not worried because I’m not guilty of anything.
[6:22] That whole lawsuit thing man, it’s just a bunch of people who won’t take responsibility for their own actions.
The irony of a Ponzi net-winner blaming victims for not taking responsibility for their losses doesn’t go unnoticed.
I’m not a lawyer but legally speaking, I’ve yet to see a court blame MLM Ponzi victims and rule in favor of those that scammed them.
Any competent attorney meanwhile would bring up the legal liability that comes with profiting in a Ponzi scheme.
With James adamant he doesn’t need to seek legal advice though, he goes on to present extremely flawed arguments in his defense.
The first is liability for promoting a Ponzi scheme.
[3:23] I didn’t work for BitConnect, I didn’t create BitConnect, I was just making videos like any other person.
“Making videos” featuring BitConnect and accompanied by an affiliate referral link is in and of itself promotion.
[8:07] I was never promoting anything (laughs). I don’t like that word now.
I wasn’t promoting BitConnect, I was doing videos about it. Experiencing it. Just like everyone else.
[8:42] I’m not promoting anything, I’m doing my videos.
As I write this Trevon James’ YouTube channel boasts 136,000 subscribers.
[8:18] How is it that thousands of YouTubers were making videos and because I just happened to have a fucking huge channel, I’m the one that gets sued?
That’s silly man.
After joining BitConnect in early 2017, James posted pretty much daily videos in which he boasted about his BitConnect lending ROI profits.
Included with each video was a link to sign up to BitConnect, through James’ affiliate referral code.
Doing so netted James a percentage of funds those he convinced to sign up invested. James doesn’t see it that way though and as above, insists he was “just making videos”.
The BitConnect videos James uploaded to his channel though were made for the sole purpose of recruiting new investors in James’ downline. So how is that anything but promotion of a Ponzi scheme?
Then there’s BitConnect’s terms and conditions;
[3:30] Any lawyer that goes and looks at BitConnect’s Terms and Conditions um, will say, “Oh man, yeah. You don’t have a case, man.”
Basically the whole Terms and Conditions says that nothing is guaranteed.
A Ponzi scheme’s terms and conditions are legally void by virtue of the fraudulent nature of the business.
No court in the US is going to uphold terms and conditions as a defense to committing securities and wire fraud.
And on some level James clearly knew BitConnect was engaged in fraud;
[4:14] A lot of people were calling it a scam, and I ignored that because a lot of people called everything a scam.
Fortunately ignorance, willful or unintended, is also not a valid defense against securities and wire fraud charges.
Despite the misguided attempt to classify himself as a BitConnect victim by way of losing his income, there’s one key difference between James and actual BitConnect victims.
As described in his own words, see if you can spot it;
[2:55] I’m affected by BitConnect closing the lending as much as anyone else.
Maybe not as much because I joined BitConnect almost a year ago, so I was able to make positive gains from it.
But of course the people that joined a month ago, two months ago, you’re gonna be pretty sour. And I can understand that.
Trevon James made money in BitConnect. That and that alone differentiates himself from actual victims, leading to his being named a defendant in the Florida class-action.
And although James claims to “understand” what BitConnect victims are going through, I have to ask… does he really though?
What should be obvious is James and his fellow top BitConnect promoters were sued in Florida because they made a ton of money convincing others to invest.
As part of his continued denial to acknowledge that and instead blame his victims, James reaches for racism.
[9:16] People lost money in all these ICOs. They’re scamming people, taking money and running away.
And nobody is suing and of them motherufuckers, man.
[9:27] You know what I’m sayin’? And people wanna attack me?
And we all know the reason why me. We all know the reason why me.
Why me (and) Craig. Craig’s channel gets like a thousand views man. And people are coming at him like just as hard.
I wonder why? What do me and Craig have in common?
Craig Grant is a fellow named defendant in the Florida class-action. Like James, Grant posted daily videos to his YouTube channel, boasting about his BitConnect profits and including an affiliate referral link.
In the wake of BitConnect’s collapse Grant has dealt with investor anger by deleting over a thousand videos from his own YouTube channel.
Both James and Grant are black, with James insinuating this is why he and Grant are being harassed by BitConnect victims.
For the record, three of the five promoters named in the Florida class-action are not black. And it obviously doesn’t take a genius to realize race has nothing to do with Ponzi investors lashing out at those they believe are responsible for their losses.
Is it so surprising to grasp that after months of watching James and Grant boast about the money they’d stolen through BitConnect, that when it collapsed anger would be directed their way?
And if I may point out the obvious, in addition James and Grant, the other named top BitConnect promoter defendants are Glenn Arcaro, Ryan Hildreth and CryptoNick.
Glenn Arcaro vanished and went on the run about a week prior to BitConnect collapsing.
Ryan Hildreth has stopped promoting lending Ponzis and is trying to position himself as an authority on legitimate cryptocurrency.
CryptoNick tried to do the same but stopped uploading to YouTube five days ago. His social media profiles have also seemingly been abandoned.
But yeah, I’m sure race is totally why James’ and Grant’s victims are up in arms.
In addition to playing the race card, James points to the inaction of BitConnect victims elsewhere in the world as a virtue.
[10:06] None of the other countries that were in BitConnect, I don’t hear a peep out of them crying or anything.
But yet Americans are the most pussy, softest motherfuckers ever. Crybaby ass motherfuckers man.
Crybabies. No other country is crying about anything.
You go look at a Vietnam video, they still having BitConnect conferences. They still throwing them shits.
(Americans are) a bunch of fucking pussies man.
[12:21] Y’all some bunch of nerds. Bunch of mad-ass nerds, man.
This crypto space man… this might be my last video. Cuz I’m too real for this man.
I can’t be involved in y’know, soft shenanigans… soft people that cry and y’know and blame me. Blame someone else for their own actions.
[16:32] I’m frustrated with people. I’m not mad, y’know I’m just frustrated with how… I’m disappointed at how stupid people are (laughs).
While the US easily dwarfs any other country both in number of BitConnect investors and investment, there’s a persistent myth that countries like Vietnam host significant investor-bases.
As I write this Vietnam isn’t even a top 5 source of traffic to the BitConnect website. Even if it was though, do I really need to explain why people in third-world countries don’t have the same access to legal remedy as investors in the US?
Being a victim of a Ponzi scheme and having no legal recourse isn’t something to aspire to. Frankly asserting that victims in third-world countries don’t have the same rights as those in the US is insulting… maybe even a little racist. Just saying.
And then there’s probably the worst attempt at misdirection, US authorities.
[4:36] (BitConnect) probably would still be around if it wasn’t for Texas and North Carolina.
But that’s what’s funny, no one is attacking y’know, Texas. No one’s getting mad at Texas.
If it wasn’t for Texas we’d still be good.
But being that Texas decided to stick their nose in our gains, y’know, they (BitConnect) had to cease and desist.
Both states gave BitConnect the opportunity to prove it wasn’t a Ponzi scheme, by submitting evidence it wasn’t simply shuffling newly invested funds around to pay out existing investors.
BitConnect’s owners instead shut the company down and did a runner. It was only then that the majority of investors were forced to come to terms with the fact they’d been scammed.
As opposed to being shut down by US regulators, BitConnect’s owners took it upon themselves to exit-scam.
And despite James’ assurances, that’s not going to reflect kindly on those who profited.
[6:29] You really think the Judge is gonna take your side?
Now this, we’re talking about a Judge here. A Judge, their job is to be unbiased and see both sides.
So you think a Judge is going to stand there say, “You put all this money in this thing and you thought that it was gonna last forever?”
Or, “You didn’t see the risk in doing this?”
Judge’s are harsh man. They’re reality, y’know.
Again, to date I’ve yet to see a Judge in an MLM Ponzi lawsuit turn around and blame victims.
As of yet James alleges he hasn’t been served in the Florida class-action.
[37:15] I’m starting to not think it’s a real thing because I haven’t been served yet. When am I gonna get served?
And even if I do get served, then I’ll get a lawyer. That stuff is… I’m pretty sure that nothing will come out of it for me because I didn’t do anything wrong.
[39:32] I’m not gonna talk to a lawyer until I feel like I need one. Because you have to pay for them.
So I’m not gonna pay for something I don’t need.
In the meantime, his advice to those who lost money in BitConnect?
[10:48] You fucked up any put too much money in something, and the government got involved and you had to lose all your money. That’s what happened.
Move on, man.
How Trevon James intends to prove BitConnect wasn’t a Ponzi scheme and/or defend his profiting off of it in court should be interesting. The old “victims knew the risks!” Ponzi defense argument isn’t going to cut it, not that it ever has.