Indian Police Arrest Two in $150 Million Bitcoin Ponzi
Originally published on: CCN
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August 18, 2018
The Indian police have arrested two more persons involved in the GainBitcoin Ponzi case, according to Times of India.
This comes on the heels of a series of arrests made in Delhi where the police raided a 4,000 square-foot mining facility, whose operators conned several victims into investing in GainBitcoin.com.
The news outlet quotes an unnamed police officer who said the two suspects were involved in marketing the scam to thousands of investors across India.
“The duo were involved in marketing the scheme. They had lured hundreds of people and then disappear. We are investigating the case and are also finding out the number of people that have been duped,” the official added.
The accused individuals are said to be close aides of Amit Bhardwaj, the kingpin the infamous cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme GainBitcoin, estimated at $300 million.
GainBitcoin started out as a multi-level-marketing scheme in 2015, where it grew to over 100,000 investors, all of whom were promised a monthly return of 10% on their investment.
The scam came to light after two First Information Reports (FIRs) were filed against GainBitcoin in April 2018, followed by another FIR filed in a different city. Authorities immediately regarded the crime as a multi-city operation after this development. The authorities swooped in after a victim complained against GainBitcoin in May 2018.
During the preliminary investigation, officials from the cyber crime cell at the Indian city of Pune discovered the wallets controlled by Bhardwaj, which was said to contain a total balance of 3.31 bitcoin—a significant reduction from its previous balance of 5,372 BTC. The authorities also contacted Zebpay in a bid to get an inquiry after determining that “a large volume of transactions between the victims and Bhardwaj took place via its platform.”
As per a CCN report last month, Bhardwaj offered to repay investors their initial bitcoin investments in their corresponding value in Indian rupees. The victims were, however, not enthused about the idea as they demanded to be paid in today’s market value.
“Today, the Bitcoin price is much higher than what it was when we invested,” an anonymous victim was quoted as stating. “It is like Bhardwaj will keep the profits and just return the principal amount which is wrong.”
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