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Arkansas Securities Department enters consent order with Abra over cryptocurrency violations

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 13, 2024)— The Arkansas Securities Department (“Department”), as part of a working group of state securities regulators, has entered into a consent order with the cryptocurrency asset platform, commonly known as Abra, for violating provisions of the Arkansas Securities Act. The respondents include Plutus Financial Holdings Inc., Plutus Financial Inc., Plutus Lending LLC, Abra Boost LLC, and William “Bill” Barhydt, who controlled the companies. The consent order addresses the offer and sale of interest-bearing cryptocurrency depository products called Abra Boost and Abra Earn.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement and the consent order, Abra gave its customers a seven-day window to withdraw their assets. After this period, accounts valued over $10 were converted to fiat, and checks were mailed to the account holder’s last known address.

As of June 15, 2023, 288 investors residing in Arkansas still had unwithdrawn assets in Abra Earn, Abra Boost, and Abra Trade, with a total value of approximately $537,464.49. At the time of the consent order, 42 Arkansas investors had unwithdrawn asset accounts with a total value of approximately $159.24.

“Although firms are creating new products tied to evolving technologies, they must continue to comply with existing securities laws,” said Securities Commissioner Susannah Marshall. “The Department will continue to ensure that investors purchasing securities tied to digital assets are afforded the same protections as investors purchasing stocks, bonds, and other traditional products.”

Abra and Mr. Barhydt cooperated with the investigation.

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