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Cryptocurrency lender sentenced for false ACL claims

A cryptocurrency lender has been sentenced to a non-conviction bond for falsely claiming that it held an ACL.

Melbourne-based cryptocurrency lender Helio Lending Pty Ltd (Helio) has been sentenced to a non-conviction bond for falsely claiming that it held an Australian credit licence (ACL) when it did not.

This matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following an initial investigation by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) that claimed Helio falsely claimed it held an appropriate credit licence ACL 391330.

Helio has agreed to enter into a recognisance in the sum of $15,000 for a period of 12 months on the condition they are of good behaviour.

According to ASIC, in an article featured on its website in August 2019, Helio inaccurately claimed to hold an appropriate credit licence, specifically citing ACL 391330.

However, during this period, Helio neither possessed an ACL nor functioned as a representative of an ACL holder.

During the relevant time frame, Helio was offering cryptocurrency-backed loans to consumers, leveraging digital currency as collateral for the loans, as reported by ASIC.

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One instance that the commission highlighted was an article titled “Australia’s First Independent Crypto-lending Company Launches into Market”, published on 10 September 2018, in which Helio Lending purported to hold ACL 391330.

Another article, dated 20 February 2019, titled “Helio Lending in Hong Kong”, was found to contain the same misleading representation of possessing ACL 391330.

Helio pleaded guilty to the conduct and this was taken into account upon sentencing.

However, the second charge relating to alleged content on the website in February 2019 was withdrawn.

Commenting on the matter, ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court emphasised the importance of accurate information provision to both current and potential customers.

“We expect entities and individuals to provide accurate information to their customers and potential customers,” Ms Court said.

“Helio falsely claimed that it held an Australian Credit licence, misleading their customers to believe that they had the protections afforded by such a licence.”

Based in Melbourne, Helio Lending is a start-up that incorporates cryptocurrency in its lending process, allowing clients to use the digital tender as security on a loan.

[Related: Lender charged for false ACL claims]

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