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Floyd Mayweather-backed Centra Tech ICO founders indicted for fraud

The founders of Centra Tech , a company that raised a $32 million ICO, have been indicted for wire fraud and securities fraud, charges that could lead to a minimum of five years in jail. The founders, Raymond Trapani, Sohrab Sharma, and Robert Farkas, were found guilty of trying to defraud investors with their ICO. The primary fraudulent statement concerned Centra Tech’s fake partnerships with Visa and MasterCard to help sell tokens. The team, wrote Robert Khuzami , Attorney for the United States in the Southern District of New York, “purported to offer cryptocurrency-related financial products, with conspiring to commit, and the commission of, securities and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to induce victims to invest millions of dollars’ worth of digital funds for the purchase of unregistered securities, in the form of digital currency tokens issued by Centra Tech, through material misrepresentations and omissions.” Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled posted support for Centra Tech on Instagram during the run-up to the token sale, writing that they were excited to use Centra Tech’s card to pay for things using Bitcoin, Ethereum, and “other coins.” Mayweather’s post appeared here but is now gone. What the three partners allegedly did was especially egregious which is why the SEC was able to attack so forcefully. Khuzami alleges that the team made up a fake CEO to look more credible as well as a laundry list of other claims. After SHARMA and TRAPANI worked together at a luxury car rental company in Florida called “Miami Exotics,” they and FARKAS co-founded a startup company called Centra Tech that claimed to offer cryptocurrency-related financial productions, including a purported debit card, the “Centra Card,” that supposedly allowed users to spend various types of cryptocurrency to make purchases at any establishment that accepts Visa or Mastercard payment cards. In approximately July 2017, SHARMA, TRAPANI, and FARKAS began soliciting investors to purchase unregistered securities, in the form of digital tokens issued by Centra Tech, through a so-called “initial coin offering” or “ICO.” As part of this effort, SHARMA, TRAPANI, and FARKAS, in oral and written offering materials that were disseminated via the internet, represented: (a) that Centra Tech had an experienced executive team with impressive credentials, including a purported CEO named “Michael Edwards” with more than 20 years of banking industry experience and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University; (b) that Centra Tech had formed partnerships with Bancorp, Visa, and Mastercard to issue Centra Cards licensed by Visa or Mastercard; and (c) that Centra Tech had money transmitter and other licenses in 38 states, among other claims. Based in part on these claims, victims provided millions of dollars’ worth of digital funds in investments for the purchase of Centra Tech tokens. In or about October 2017, at the end of Centra Tech’s ICO, those digital funds raised from victims were worth more than $25 million. Due to appreciation in the value of those digital funds raised from victims, those digital funds are presently worth more than $60 million. The FBI seized 91,000 Ether worth $90 million from the team

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As tech-fueled demand raises Seattle house prices, activists wage a data-driven campaign to change zoning to allow more density in single-family…

Paul Roberts / Politico : As tech-fueled demand raises Seattle house prices, activists wage a data-driven campaign to change zoning to allow more density in single-family neighborhoods   —  In Seattle's red-hot housing market, a group of millennial techies is using data skills to alter the look, and affordability, of their adopted city.

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How Microsoft helped imprison a man for ‘counterfeiting’ software it gives away for free

In a sickening concession to bad copyright law and Microsoft’s bottom line over basic technical truths and common sense, Eric Lundgren will spend 15 months in prison for selling discs that let people reinstall Windows on licensed machines. A federal appeals court this week upheld the sentence handed down in ignorance by a Florida district judge, for a crime the man never committed. Now, to be clear, Lundgren did commit a crime, and admitted as much — but not the crime he was convicted for, the crime Microsoft alleges he did, the crime that carries a year-plus prison term. Here’s what happened. In 2012 feds seized a shipment of discs, which they determined were counterfeit copies of Windows, heading to the U.S., where they were to be sold to retailers by Lundgren. U.S. Prosecutors, backed by Microsoft’s experts, put him on the hook for about $8.3 million — the retail price of Windows multiplied by the number of discs seized. The only problem with that was that these weren’t counterfeit copies of Windows, and they were worth almost nothing. The confusion is understandable — here’s why. When you buy a computer, baked into the cost of that computer is usually a license for the software on it — for instance, Windows. And included with that computer is often a disc that, should you have to reinstall that OS for whatever reason (virus infection, general slowdown), allows you to do so

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Making policing more responsive, SPIDR Tech raises $2.5 million

Across the country, police brutality and the series of fatal shootings of mostly black men have soured many on the role that police officers play in the community. To combat those negative assessments, police forces are turning to an array of new technologies, such as body cameras, new communications technologies and social media monitoring services to (ostensibly) become more accountable to and engaged with the citizens they’re policing. With the new wave of spending comes more venture capital dollars invested in technologies that entrepreneurs are developing to solve these problems. Los Angeles-based SPIDR Tech , founded by two former officers, Rahul Sidhu and Elon Kaiserman, is one of the companies benefiting from this newfound interest in policing technology. The company raised $2.5 million from investors, including Sidewalk Labs (the urban tech subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s holding company), Birchmere Ventures, Stage Ventures, Kairos Association, Heartland Ventures and No Name Ventures. From Tucson to San Antonio and Grover Beach to Redondo Beach, police departments are using SPIDR Tech’s automated messaging system to help departments respond to victims of crimes and keep them informed of the status of the investigation into their case. A graduate of the Techstars New York accelerator a few years ago, when I first saw the company they were focused on providing actionable intelligence and monitoring services to police departments, but pivoted into a communications platform when the company saw a bigger opportunity to help departments there. “Originally we were focused on police departments having the data they need to make actionable decisions,” Sidhu says. “But we had to look at what could we do with their data to make immediate changes.” Rather than focus on predictive policing using fairly spotty data sets, SPIDR turned to improving communications. A small thing that Sidhu says can make a large difference in how policing is perceived. The idea goes back to advice that Sidhu was given by his commanding officer when he was a rookie in his department. “ Every department has a bank of trust,” Sidhu says.

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Chinese police foil drone-flying phone smugglers at Hong Kong border

Dozens of high-tech phone smugglers have been apprehended by Chinese police, who twigged to the scheme to send refurbished iPhones into the country from Hong Kong via drone — but not the way you might think. China’s Legal Daily reported the news (and Reuters noted shortly after) following a police press conference; it’s apparently the first cross-border drone-based smuggling case, so likely of considerable interest. Although the methods used by the smugglers aren’t described, a picture emerges from the details. Critically, in addition to the drones themselves, which look like DJI models with dark coverings, police collected some long wires — more than 600 feet long. Small packages of 10 or so phones were sent one at a time, and it only took “seconds” to get them over the border. That pretty much rules out flying the drone up and over the border repeatedly — leaving aside that landing a drone in pitch darkness on the other side of a border fence (or across a body of water) would be difficult to do once or twice, let alone dozens of times, the method is also inefficient and risky. But really, the phones only need to clear the border obstacle. So here’s what you do: Send the drone over once with all cable attached. Confederates on the other side attach the cable to a fixed point, say 10 or 15 feet off the ground. Drone flies back unraveling the cable, and lands some distance onto the Hong Kong side. Smugglers attach a package of 10 phones to the cable with a carabiner, and the drone flies straight up. When the cable reaches a certain tension, the package slides down the cable, clearing the fence. The drone descends, and you repeat.

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Revenge Porn Now A Crime In New York City – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Revenge Porn Now A Crime In New York City Ubergizmo Revenge porn, the act of sharing someone's intimate photos or videos online without consent, is now officially a crime in New York City. It was back in November last year when the New York City Council voted unanimously to criminalize revenge porn and ... and more »

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