NBA great Pierce fined $1.4 million over 'misleading' crypto promotion

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce was ordered to pay more than $1.4 million in penalties after being charged with making false and misleading statements about crypto securities he was paid to promote, US regulators said Friday, Feb. 17.

NBA great Paul Pierce (AFP file photo)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a statement Pierce had been charged with touting EthereumMax (EMAX) tokens without disclosing that he had been paid to do so.

The SEC statement said Pierce -- nicknamed 'The Truth' during his playing days -- was paid EMAX tokens worth $244,000 to promote the securities.

The 45-year-old also posted a screenshot of an account showing large holdings and profits of the securities when in fact his holdings were much lower than those shown.

"This case is yet another reminder to celebrities: The law requires you to disclose to the public from whom and how much you are getting paid to promote investment in securities, and you can't lie to investors when you tout a security," SEC chief Gary Gensler said.

"When celebrities endorse investment opportunities, including crypto asset securities, investors should be careful to research if the investments are right for them, and they should know why celebrities are making those endorsements."

Pierce is a 10-time NBA All-Star who was NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 2008, when he led Boston to the NBA championship.