[…] This excerpt was taken from an article written by Jessica Lunk on benchmarkone.com […]
The CEO of Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services (TBIS) has pleaded guilty to charges of securities fraud after using ‘false and misleading statements’ to convince investors to buy unregistered cryptocurrency tokens.
Titanium Blockchain CEO Pleads Guilty to Cryptocurrency Fraud Charges
Michael Alan Stollery, 54, of Reseda, California, admitted his role in a cryptocurrency fraud scheme involving TBIS’s initial coin offering (ICO) that raised around $21 million from investors both in the United States and from abroad. His TBIS firm were presented to investors as a cryptocurrency investment platform who were lured into purchasing ‘BARs’ which were supposedly legitimate cryptocurrency tokens but which Stollery had not registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Investors Hoodwinked by Crypto Fraud
Stollery has since explained that in order to entice investors, he falsified aspects of TBIS’s white papers. The falsifications purportedly offered investors and prospective investors an explanation of the cryptocurrency investment offering, which included the purpose and technology behind the offering as well as how the offering was different from other cryptocurrency opportunities. He also falsified the prospects for the offering’s profitability.
Announcing the charges and plea in court were Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Also present were Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and Acting Special Agent in Charge, Cory Nootnagel, of the Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, Western Region.
Crypto Criminal Used Funds for Hawai’i Condo
A statement on the Department of Justice website further explained: “Stollery also planted fake client testimonials on TBIS’s website and falsely claimed that he had business relationships with the Federal Reserve and dozens of prominent companies to create the false appearance of legitimacy.
“Stollery further admitted that he did not use the invested money as promised but instead commingled the ICO investors’ funds with his personal funds, using at least a portion of the offering proceeds for expenses unrelated to TBIS, such as credit card payments and the payment of bills for Stollery’s Hawaii condominium.”
Stollery’s guilty plea comes four years after the SEC first obtained an emergency order to halt TBIS’s ICO in 2018. An emergency asset freeze was also approved, and a receiver to hold the firm’s assets was also appointed.
One of the lawyers representing Stollery, Andrew Holmes, explained that the plea was the criminal follow-up to the SEC action. Holmes spoke to the Wall Street Journal, saying that Stollery’s crimes were: “Overexuberance that went beyond what he should’ve done.”
Holmes also explained that most of the investors’ funds that were converted to cryptocurrency are in the possession of the receiver and that Stollery has been cooperating with the authorities from the beginning of the case. “He’s very remorseful,” added Holmes. “He wants to get as much money as possible back to those that put their money in.”
Fraudster Faces Up To 20 years
Stollery is scheduled to be sentenced on November 18 and could face up to 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence and will take the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors into consideration.
This article, “Titanium Blockchain CEO Pleads Guilty to Cryptocurrency Fraud Charges” was first published on Small Business Trends
Building a personal brand is all about capturing attention. If you work in a “boring” industry, it can be tough to communicate the key benefits that differentiate you from competitors. Especially when you work in an industry that’s not usually the topic of conversation or trending on social media.
Take the VoIP industry, a very boring industry. It’s hard to make VOIP stand out or make it “sexy”. People don’t usually turn to VoIP companies for engaging content, actionable educational or entertainment. But with the right attitude and the ability to produce quality content, leaders even in the boring Cloud VoIP industry can gain recognition and build an audience. (I’ll show you a real life example in bullet #1 below).
In this article I’ll show you real examples of how to capture your target market’s attention, convert them into stark raving fans, and build your personal brand even when you’re in a boring industry.
Ready? Let’s roll!
1. Be Bold. Be Authentic.
Wallflowers and shrinking violets don’t build brands. People who are bold and enthusiastic do. For executives looking to make their mark and build a brand, being a hands-on, in the trenches type of person translates into authentic experience.
You don’t want to be the kind of exec that takes all the credit and not know how anything works. If your team does the heavy lifting while you get the kudos but you can’t explain how your widget works, then people are not going to respect your opinion.
Someone who shows they know what they are doing and can express their “Why” is going to be more authentic.
Don’t be afraid to have an opinion and share it, even if it happens to touch on the politics of the day. If it is earnest, authentic and well-thought-out—not some emotionally charged overreaction—then boldly proclaim it and let the discourse begin. That is what builds engagement, followers, and brands.
Those who take a position and confidently support their way of thinking are more likely to stand out
People value leaders who are confident and don’t flip-flop on their beliefs just to appease the masses. Sure, some feathers may get ruffled, but how many low-key, wishy-washy executives can you name? Exactly. You can’t name many because they don’t stand out and nobody knows who they are.
2. Share Actionable Expertise
Just because your industry isn’t interesting doesn’t mean no one is interested. You can still share your knowledge and expertise to build your brand. Take Ryan Stewman, the sales and marketing expert who runs a sales training called The Hardcore Closer.
Ryan gained a loyal following talking about lead generation. He has built a multi-million dollar business by taking what has worked for him, sharing it, and monetizing it.
Ryan was on the cutting edge of using social media and videos to promote himself and connect with people when he started in sales. Because of his success, he started to teach other salespeople how to use social media to connect with people and use tools for lead generation.
He built a lead generation software company called Phonesites that helps salespeople create their own sales funnels. He offered free training on Facebook live and produced free content in the form of articles and training videos.
Sharing his expertise helped grow his personal brand which has allowed him to scale into other successful business ventures. He’s doing it right.
Chris the founder of SalesMessage is another great example. He has been using SMS texting to communicate with anyone who contacts their business or even subscribes to their webinars, events, or blog.
He shares actionable tips, tricks and information while trying to covert some of the leads who contact him and gets a whopping 70% response rate on SMS texts. He recently shared the complete set of sample text messages to send to customers on his blog. He engages his potential customers and build his following.
But, one of the biggest mistakes you can make in personal branding is to be and act like someone you are not. You will eventually be outed, caught, or exposed.
When building a personal brand, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not or have expertise when you don’t.
Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of the once highly-touted blood-testing startup Theranos, was once the darling of Silicon Valley. She was seen as an influencer and visionary in the same vein as Steve Jobs.
Theranos WAS Elizabeth Holmes and her personal brand of being a healthcare wunderkind carried the firm. Unfortunately for many people, the whole company and the whole story was a massive fraud. She faked her expertise and knowledge, the company was exposed and now it is no more.
A personal brand built on lies and half-truths will come back to bite you.
3. Be the MVP of Value
If you want to really stand out, you must be useful and add maximum value at all times. Do this by offering free info, training, and content about your industry and share that info while speaking at events and on podcasts.
We’re talking about sharing real expertise, not just thoughts or opinions, but practical knowledge that comes from actually having done the work.
Jack Kosakowski kills it here. Jack has been providing actionable social selling advice and content for over 5 years. With his SkillsLab social selling site, he has been helping salespeople to increase their presence through social media and how to correctly connect with—and sell to—their target clients.
Value comes from experience. Jack has churned out content on social media, his blog, publications like The Harvard Business Review, and on podcasts—continually sharing what has worked for him, and how it took him from a newbie salesperson to the CEO of the US division of a Global Digital Agency.
4. Stop Selling and Build Trust Instead
Look, you don’t need to be Billy Mays or the ShamWow guy, pitching and promoting all day while operators are standing by. Constantly pushing product is exhausting. But talking and engaging with people in your own voice—your true self—and showing them how to succeed with examples and actionable ideas will build trust.
When you let people see the real you, trust is built and your brand strengthens and attracts new prospects.
Trust isn’t built by speaking AT people. It’s built by engaging and speaking WITH with your audience.
People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. And that’s usually not the guy with the bullhorn shouting “Look at me! Look at me!” Differentiate yourself by sharing knowledge from real-world experience in an authentic, engaging way that creates value and trustworthiness. This will build your personal brand.
When someone needs to seek out info in your industry, you will be top-of-mind because you will be the rockstar of your “boring” industry. They will come to you for the value you provide because you’ve built trust due to engagement, value, and expertise.
The post Personal Branding Tips For Executives In “Boring” Industries appeared first on Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career.
A new poll sees healthcare as the top issue for small businesses as the new Congress takes shape after the midterm elections. The numbers come from a recent poll conducted by The Small Business Roundtable, a small business and entrepreneur organization dedicated to the advancement of this critical aspect of the American economy.
Small Business Healthcare Concerns
A full 31% of the respondents marked healthcare as their number one concern if there was only one issue for the new Congress to deal with in the upcoming year.
Changes to Obamacare Remain a Focus
This comes after several attempts by the Trump administration to repeal and replace what’s been commonly referred to as Obama Care. At the center of some of this controversy are pre-existing conditions and whether or not they will be part of any healthcare packages.
Healthcare Outpaces Immigration as Top Topic
Although a number of Americans have protection against denial of coverage for these conditions, there is widely thought to be a percentage that will need to turn to private markets or be uninsured if they are denied.
The issues surrounding healthcare are top of mind for small business owners and the American population alike. The poll, called The Small Business Policy Agenda, even placed healthcare ahead of more red button issues like immigration reform, seen by only 15% of respondents as a top concern.
Continuing Uncertainty Impacts Business Optimism
The continuing uncertainty around healthcare is impacting small business optimism. In fact, only 20% of respondents reported that they felt more optimistic about the future of their companies.
Another 23% reported feeling less optimistic and the largest swath (57%) reported feeling about the same as before the Midterms.
When it comes to the bigger picture and small business owners’ general view of the entire American economy, only a small percentage (17%) were optimistic.
Almost half of the respondents didn’t think the changes to Congress were going to have a big effect. Nipping on the heels of that 43% is a full 40% of people who were less optimistic about the future of the American economy.
Small Businesses Also Have Other Concerns
One of the other big takeaways from the poll is a concern over the new Congress and implications for tax reform and small business. Half of the people responding felt that the new 116th Congress will hurt their business when it comes to the previous tax reforms brought in by the Trump administration.
When it comes to other issues like trade policy, retirement savings and recruiting and retaining employees, most of the people responding didn’t think the switch in the balance of government was going to have any impact for small businesses.
Finally, a big swath of respondents predicted a big change in the way Congress does its job after the midterm. A full 43% saw upcoming changes as significant in that light.
Photo via Shutterstock
This article, “31% of Businesses List Healthcare as Top Issue for New Congress” was first published on Small Business Trends