The “digital currency” META 1 Coin may or may not have the blessing of Abraham Lincoln and links to a gold mine in Nevada—but the SEC claims its coin is a scam “backed by nothing.”
e Instagram presence of META 1 Coin, a “digital currency” backed by a former Washington state senator and a YouTube mystic who claims she can “channel the archangel Metatron,” has a few quirks. For one, the account favors photos of massive, gold coins that look like something a cartoon bandit would carry around in a sack marked “$$.” For another, it leans hard into hashtags, piling on labels like #dream, #live, #love, or #vsco, the photo editing app that became shorthand for zoomers with small backpacks.
But the main quirk of @meta1coin might be that it continues to update daily—two months after the Securities and Exchange Commission froze the company’s assets, one month after a Texas district court held the board members in contempt, and just weeks after a judge issued warrants for two members’ arrest, over running what the SEC claims is a $9 million scam involving a coin “backed by nothing.”
On its Instagram page, Meta 1 Coin describes itself as a “Coin for Humanity / Making History / Liquidity of Gold.” It is listed as a “Local Business.” The local business emerged in April of 2018, from two Boca Raton residents named Robert Dunlap and Nicole Bowdler. Dunlap, according to court documents, served as the “architect” of the coin and its “Executive Trustee and Global Visionary.” Bowdler, the YouTube mystic who calls herself “an Earth Angel incarnated to help humanity” and now runs an online school for psychics, came on board as the coin’s “Trustee and Art Acquisitions & Forensics Director of Business Development.”
Dave Schmidt, a former Republican representative in the Washington state legislature who was found to have misappropriated over $32,000 in campaign funds, joined META 1’s Board to do publicity. He talks about the endeavor frequently on his blog, “The Cosmic Connections,” and radio show, “The Sedona Connection” (“Sedona…….” the description reads. “It’s All About the ‘Energy.’ This Program reflects that ‘energy of life.’)
None of them was licensed to sell securities or registered with the SEC “in any capacity.”
The basic gist was that META 1 would convert fiat currency, like the U.S. dollar, into a “tokenized” currency, comprising 450 million coins backed by hard assets. Investors who bought one of the coins at $22.22 a pop would supposedly see its value skyrocket to $50,000 within two years. Put another way, that’s a 224,923 percent return on investment (a “very conservative” estimate, Schmidt claimed).
But it was a sure thing. Or at least, Bowdler said as much on Crypto Visions, Evolutionary Journeys, an online talk show run by another YouTube psychic, who claims that “spirit guides” give her reliable crypto investment advice. Per the complaint: “Bowdler told the audience that Metatron and Abraham Lincoln revealed to her what would happen in the world’s financial and economic structure over the next 20 years.”
But on March 16, 2020, the SEC filed a lawsuit against META 1 Coin, alleging the company was “nothing but a vehicle to steal investors’ money.” The commission’s request for a temporary restraining order to freeze META 1’s assets was granted within a day. In an amended complaint filed on May 14, the commission accused Dunlap, Schmidt and Bowdler of raising over $9 million from at least 500 investors, across 40 states and six foreign countries. The complaint claimed they had funneled the money into personal accounts and phony trusts. One manager allegedly used over $510,000 to buy a house and $215,000 to buy a Ferrari.