Serena Williams, Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg, & More Named In Class-Action Suit Over Alleged Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Fraud Scheme
A new class-action lawsuit has been filed for a group of celebrities allegedly being endorsed by the NFT series Bored Ape Yacht Club.
According to reports, the lawsuit states that stakeholders in Yuga Labs, the parent company of Bored Ape Yacht Club and its affiliated digital products, engaged in a conspiracy with celebrities to defraud potential investors.
In the suit, filed December 8 in a federal district court in L.A., Yuga partners are reportedly amongst the 37 defendants listed in the complaint. High-profile celebrities sued include comedian Kevin Hart, tennis star Serena Williams, and rap icon Snoop Dogg.
Also named is Madonna, Justin Bieber, Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton, The Weeknd, Post Malone, and Steph Curry.
Reports state that the suit seeks monetary damages of at least $5 million on behalf of the plaintiffs and the putative class of “all others similarly situated.”
A Yuga Labs spokesperson said,
“In our view, these claims are opportunistic and parasitic. We strongly believe that they are without merit, and look forward to proving as much.”
Reports claim that Plaintiffs Adonis Real and Adam Titcher allege that in promoting or endorsing the Bored Ape community through social media and other mediums, these entertainers and athletes caused the value of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to balloon to “artificially inflated and distorted prices” and engaged in misleading promotions that did not disclose alleged financial compensation.
The pair also alleges that the “scheme” involved MoonPay, which facilitated transfers of ownership to the celebrities named, some of whom were backers of the service, according to reports.
The class action suit reportedly states that there are more than 103,000 unique account holders of Yuga securities — which includes the Bored Ape offshoot Mutant Ape Club; the metaverse “Otherside,” which offered virtual land sales; and the token ApeCoin — of which Yuga receives a 2.5% royalty rate “every time one of its NFTs is resold on the secondary market.”
According to reports, the period specified in the complaint is from April 24, 2021, to the present. At its portfolio height in early 2022, Bored Ape NFTs were going for hundreds of thousands of dollars with what were considered rare characteristics. Plaintiff Adam Titcher purchased a Mutant Ape and an Otherdeed for the Bored Ape metaverse Otherside, and Adonis Real purchased ApeCoin tokens.
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