(Adds details from CFTC statement)
WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. derivatives watchdog on Wednesday said it has charged My Big Coin Pay Inc and two men over alleged fraud and misappropriation as part of an ongoing virtual currency scam, the latest in a string of recent actions against cryptocurrencies.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in a statement, said it had charged My Big Coin (MBC), Randall Crater of New York and Mark Gillespie of Michigan with "misappropriating over $6 million from customers by, among other things, transferring customer funds into personal bank accounts, and using those funds for personal expenses and the purchase of luxury goods."
Privately held My Big Coin is a virtual currency operator based in Las Vegas that according to its website launched in December 2013. Representatives for the company did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The charges, filed on Jan. 16, come amid growing governmental action around the world against virtual currencies, including bitcoin.
Last week, the CFTC filed fraud charges against three virtual currency operators. Officials in other countries, including China and South Korea, have also targeted cryptocurrencies.
On Wednesday, the CFTC said that MBC's website, run by the two men charged, said its currency was being traded on several currency exchanges and reported a daily trading price "when in fact it was not" being traded and "no price existed," among other allegations.
"As customers began to raise questions about their MBC accounts, Defendants attempted to conceal their fraud by issuing additional coins to customers and falsely representing that they had secured a deal with another exchange to trade MBC," the CFTC said. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Phil Berlowitz)