SEC settles with ‘Bitcoin Beautee’ over $1.7B HyperFund scheme

The SEC and US Attorney’s Office of Maryland announced charges against Sam Lee and Brenda Chunga, aka “Bitcoin Beautee”


Mirza Kadic/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against two of the leaders involved in HyperFund, an alleged crypto pyramid scheme that raised over $1.7 billion.

Both Sam Lee and Brenda Chunga were charged for their involvement. Chunga, aka Bitcoin Beautee, settled with the SEC over the fraud and unregistered offering charges. 

The regulatory agency states that the two “promoted HyperFund ‘membership’ packages, which they claimed guaranteed investors high returns, including from HyperFund’s supposed crypto asset mining operations and associations with a Fortune 500 company.”

Read more: Gensler’s SEC brought 46 crypto-related enforcements in 2023

“As alleged in our complaint, Lee and Chunga attracted investors with the allure of profits from crypto asset mining, but the only thing that HyperFund mined was its investors’ pockets,” said Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. 

As part of Chunga’s settlement, she is “permanently enjoined from future violations of the charged provisions and certain other activity, and to pay disgorgement and civil penalties in amounts to be determined by the court at a future date. The settlement is subject to court approval.”

Lee, according to the SEC’s press release, faces litigation. 

The two were charged with “violating the anti-fraud and registration provisions of the federal securities laws. The complaint seeks permanent injunctive relief, conduct-based injunctions preventing the defendants from participating in multi-level marketing or crypto asset offerings, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.”

The US Attorney’s Office of Maryland additionally announced criminal charges against both Lee and Chunga. Chunga pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud.

Read more: ‘Bitcoin Yoda’ faces 75 years for operating a crypto Ponzi scheme

According to court documents, Lee is a citizen of Australia and a resident of the United Arab Emirates, while Chunga resides in Maryland. 

Lee has also been linked to another alleged crypto scheme reported initially by the Guardian. He reportedly targeted investors across Asia, Africa and the Pacific in what was similarly dubbed “HyperVerse.”

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

Explore the growing intersection between crypto, macroeconomics, policy and finance with Ben Strack, Casey Wagner and Felix Jauvin. Subscribe to the On the Margin newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.


Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2024

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research



Aerodrome is a "MetaDEX" that combines elements of various DEX primitives such as Uniswap V2 and V3, Curve, Convex, and Votium. Since its launch on Base, it has become the largest protocol by TVL with more than $495M in value locked, doubling Uniswap's Base deployment.


Also, a look into how the highly-debated SAB 121 could end up shaking out for crypto custodians


Vance, an Ohio Republican, is largely seen as crypto-friendly


Plus, all the world is green as prices across the crypto space rally, with solana reaching a nearly two-week high


Investors add to crypto positions after “turnaround in sentiment due to lower-than-expected CPI,” CoinShares research head says


Plus, Ethereum is in the midst of a vibecession


Also, former Valkyrie CEO lands new leadership role at Canadian investment firm Cypherpunk Holdings