Commissioner Stops Digital Gold Vault Scheme Allegedly Promoted by Billionico Academy

Apr 22


Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles entered an Emergency Cease and Desist Order to stop an international multilevel marketing scheme offering Texans the opportunity to invest in a digital gold vault.  According to the order, Billionico Academy began by promoting itself as an education platform that sold learning modules.  However, Billionico Academy allegedly began offering investments on April 19, 2024, in a digital gold vault issued by Auratus, a precious metals firm purportedly operating in Hong Kong.  The order alleges the investments are being illegally and fraudulently offered in Texas and the respondents are threatening immediate and irreparable public harm.

According to the order, Billionico Academy was founded by Chairman Daniel von Lison and its Chief Executive Officer is Frank Deyle.  Although allegedly not disclosed to clients of Billionico Academy, the order claims Deyle served as the Marketing Advisor and an Advisory Board Member for Swiss Valorem Bank Ltd., and that he promoted investments issued by GSB Gold Standard Bank, Ltd dba GS Partners.  Notably, the Securities Commissioner recently entered Emergency Cease and Desist Order No. ENF-23-CDO-1879 against Swiss Valorem Bank Ltd and GS Partners, accusing them of illegally and fraudulent offering investments tied to digital assets.  Order No. ENF-23-CDO-1879 is final and not subject to appeal as it relates to Swiss Valorem Bank Ltd, and it is being challenged by GS Partners.  

The order alleges that Auratus is offering the investments in digital gold vaults to clients of Billionico Academy.  According to the order, the purchase price of the investments varies by the capacity of the digital gold vaults, with the minimum investment of 150 euros purchasing a digital gold vault with 4.285g capacity and a maximum investment of 10,000 euros purchasing a digital gold vault with 285.714g capacity.  After purchasing the product, investors allegedly queue and, once admitted, receive a pro rata portion of passive yield generated by the digital gold vault.  The term of the investment varies with the capacity of the digital gold vaults and ranges from 12 weeks to 60 weeks.

“Many legitimate firms are leveraging new technologies to improve operations or increase efficiencies,” said Commissioner Iles.  “However, bad actors are attempting to capitalize on interest in these technologies to defraud the public.  Retail investors considering investments tied to novel, complex, or revolutionary technologies should make sure they understand the products, the risks associated with the investments, and the manner in which returns are generated. It is equally important to know the people you are entrusting with your hard earned money”

The order accused Billionico Academy of using a multilevel marketing scheme to recruit clients that are then eligible to purchase the investments issued by Auratus.  It also alleges that Auratus is implementing a multilevel marketing scheme to compensate clients of Billionico Academy that recruit new purchasers of investments in the digital gold vault.  

“Retail investors rely on sales representatives to clearly explain products, present accurate information and answer their questions,” said Enforcement Director Joe Rotunda.  “Unlike registered sales agents, unregistered multilevel marketers are not subject to a state background review, do not have to successfully pass examinations and are not supervised by a registered dealer.  The regulations that have traditionally protected retail investors simply do not apply to unregistered multilevel marketers.”

According to the order, the Director of the Enforcement Division communicated with Christian Cruz Riander, the Sales Director for Billionico Academy, prior to the entry of the action.  Respondent Riander allegedly declined the opportunity to speak with the Director of the Enforcement Division about his work, explaining that “these days my schedule is packed.  Perhaps another time.”  

The order also names Primus Liquidity Holding Ltd, Elite Club World, Marina von Lison, Scott Ifionayi, Christopher Peacock and Terry Lee.  The parties have allegedly not been registered to offer or sell securities in Texas and the investments in the digital gold vault are not registered or permitted for sale in Texas.  All parties have 30 days to challenge the action.