Former actor Zachery Ty Bryan is accused of pocketing $50,000 as part of a crypto scam.
The four people told The Hollywood Reporter that Bryan promised to invest their money.
However, they say they have yet to see a return.
Bryan’s profile has resurfaced years after his popular show ended in 1999 after an arrest in 2020 that led to a charge of felony strangulation. He is best known for his role as Brad Taylor on “Home Improvement,” where he acted alongside stars Tim Allen and Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Now, four people who said they gave money to Bryan to buy digital coins for a startup called Producers Market told the Hollywood Reporter that Bryan took $50,000 of their money by promising to invest it in a cryptocurrency opportunity that did not exist.
“I got duped,” one source told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a gut punch, for sure.”
Bryan was brought on as an adviser by the company after it heard about how the former child actor amassed a fortune on Bitcoin, according to The Hollywood Reporter. At the time, the company was considering a token sale — an offering of cryptocurrency tokens to private investors to help fund a startup or project.
Shortly after, he began promoting the digital tokens. The problem was Producers Market had not established a token sale for the company at that point and ultimately decided against doing so, per the outlet.
One woman who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter said she pulled together $5,000 as a “broke college student” after going on a date with Bryan, who convinced her to invest and presented her with a contract before she handed over the money. Other sources who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter said they also trusted the actor with their money because he was listed as a founding investment partner on the Producers Market website.
A spokesperson for Producers Market told Insider in a statement that when the company discovered that Bryan was offering the nonexistent tokens, it “immediately issued a cease-and-desist demand to him.”
“Mr. Bryan misrepresented our company without our knowledge, participation or permission,” John Collins, a spokesperson for Producers Market, said. “When we found out, we immediately issued a cease-and-desist demand to him. This activity is unacceptable and not a reflection of our mission to support the wellbeing of farmers and our food systems.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bryan claimed he was also confused by the situation.
“This was not me running some shady scam deal or something — that’s just not me,” Bryan told the publication. He also said he still has a stake in the company and would return his stock to those accusing him of taking their money.
Bryan has not faced any criminal charges for his time with Producers Market, and the people who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter said they did not alert authorities or pursue any legal action.
The Hollywood Reporter feature on Bryan, who continues to act and promotes his conservative views on channels like Newsmax, also highlights the “fall” of the actor through interviews with friends and former costars.
Allen also spoke to the outlet about his thoughts on Bryan’s situation, calling him a “great kid who has grown into a complex man.”
“I don’t know what happens when people get corrupted. You just don’t know,” Allen told The Hollywood Reporter.
A spokesperson for Bryan did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Update: July 2, 2023 — This story was updated with a statement from Producers Market.
Read the original article on Business Insider
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