Phil Hellmuth’s dive into cryptocurrency looks to have backfired after a lawsuit alleging securities fraud landed at the door of Bitcoin Latinum and one of its main players, poker player Kevin Jonna...
Hellmuth, who famously missed out on $millions when he refused advice to invest in Bitcoin when its price was just $90, has been a “paid endorser” of the Bitcoin Latinum cryptocurrency.
He sported the crypto-brand’s logo throughout the recent World Series of Poker and has promoted its benefits in a range of discussions, including the following tweet.
I’m a paid endorser of Bitcoin Latinum, and this is NOT investment advice:https://t.co/5egXoqWPvr— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) July 31, 2021
However, the lawsuit launched recently by three investors has resulted in the price of the coin falling by 95% since the start of the year, amid claims of investment funds being “diverted and misappropriated for personal use.”
A 40-page lawsuit has been filed in Michigan against Kevin Jonna and Bitcoin Latinum, with investors Farid Jamardov and two of Kevin Jonna’s cousins, Raymond Jonna and Simon Jonna, claiming they have never received the crypto tokens they paid for.
Jamardov claims in the filing that he invested more than $100,000 in the cryptocurrency, with Simon Jonna’s investment of $240,000, and Raymond Jonna’s $200,000, bringing the total to more than $540,000.
Bitcoin Latinum responded to the legal action by countersuing everyone involved in the lawsuit for “not less than $1billion each for reputational and punitive damages”.
A press release stated: “It is the official stance of Bitcoin Latinum that the accusations are without merit. Bitcoin Latinum neither had a relationship with nor received any investment from the plaintiffs.”
It is not clear whether or not Hellmuth’s involvement goes beyond being a paid promoter of the coin. It has been reported elsewhere that the 16-time WSOP champ is listed as an “angel investor” in Bitcoin Latinum.
Hellmuth attended a launch party for the cryptocurrency last year, along with his friend and fellow pro, Brandon Cantu, and recently MC’d a poker tournament featuring Bitcoin Latinum’s founder, Don Basile...
As we reported last summer, Hellmuth revealed his connections to the cryptocurrency as well as his history of poor choices in the crypto-investment area.
Hellmuth told USPoker’s Sean Chaffin: “I’ve been following crypto since my Silicon Valley ‘masters of the universe’ crew told me to buy Bitcoin at $90. “Then, they pushed it again after it fell to $300.”
“Unfortunately,” says Phil, “I didn’t listen!” adding that he also missed out on some other major stocks. “They also told me to buy Apple, Tesla, and Amazon too – and I didn’t listen, oops.”
Quite what Hellmuth’s initial connection to Bitcoin Latinum was, is unclear, but Kevin Jonna, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, has a poker history of his own.
Jonna took down the WPT LA Poker Classic High Roller in 2014, for a $262,840 payday. Two five figure cashes from last year at the Wynn in Las Vegas are his only cashes in the intervening seven years.