Enlarge (credit: USFIA)

The trial of a Southern California-based financial scam is now set to go to the penalty phase next Tuesday to determine how much the company and the scheme’s architect, Steve Chen, should pay the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last month, a federal judge ruled that Chen’s Gemcoin operation was fraudulent. "The violation took place over years and involved elaborate schemes," US District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner wrote in a summary judgment against Chen. "Defendant has shown no sign of recognition of wrongdoing and has offered no assurances against future violations." The SEC argued in court filings on December 21, 2016 that the remaining issues should be determined by the judge and not a jury and that said judge should find "in favor of sizeable penalties."

Gemcoin advertised itself in ridiculous promotional videos (see above) as a purported cryptocurrency that was "trusted," as it was "backed" by amber mines. The offices of Gemcoin’s parent company, Alliance Finance Group, and its subsidiary, United States Fine Investment Arts, were raided in October 2015 by federal and local authorities.

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