555ct. Diamond Bought with Illicit Funds, SEC Says
Cryptocurrency mogul Richard Heart allegedly used proceeds from the sale of unregistered securities to buy the 555-carat Enigma diamond, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The SEC has charged Heart — who was born Richard Schueler and who created the Hex cryptocurrency token — with selling the securities to raise more than $1 billion from investors. It alleges that Heart and his PulseChain company committed fraud by misappropriating at least $12 million of those funds to purchase luxury items, including sports cars, watches and the diamond.
“Heart called on investors to buy crypto asset securities in offerings that he failed to register,” Eric Werner, director of the SEC’s Fort Worth regional office, said in a statement Monday. “He then defrauded those investors by spending some of their crypto assets on exorbitant luxury goods.”
The Enigma, which is believed to have come from outer space, is the largest faceted diamond of any kind to appear at auction. Heart purchased it from Sotheby’s at a one-off sale in February 2022 for GBP 3.2 million ($4.3 million). At the time, Heart tweeted that he had bought the stone and would rename it the Hex.com diamond as a nod to his cryptocurrency platform, calling it a “match made in heaven.” Hex has a “5555 day club” comprising people who hold 5,555-day Hex stakes — the longest possible stake in the electronic token.
Sotheby’s, which accepted payment for the Enigma, was not mentioned as a defendant in the SEC’s lawsuit.
“Sotheby’s does not comment on individual transactions, but we can confirm we have established due diligence procedures, tailored and updated to take account of our requirements to conduct business in compliance with applicable laws and regulations,” the auction house stated.
Image: The 555.55-carat Enigma black diamond. (Sotheby’s)