Police in India have cracked a crypto Ponzi scheme in the city of Pune that defrauded over 8,000 investors, seizing nearly $2 million worth of bitcoin in the process.
According to a news report from The Times of India, police have been on the trail of the scammers since January and have now arrested the scam’s ringleader, Amit Bhardwaj, and ten accomplices for their fraudulent activities. Bhardwaj and his brother, who was also implicated in the case, were taken from Dubai to Delhi where they will now stand trial.
Catching the Crypto Ponzi Scheme Scammers
Bhardwaj owned a company called GainBitcoin that promised investors 10% returns in order to lure them into the crypto Ponzi scheme. Bhardwaj and his accomplices used the money to live the life of luxury and their ill-gotten gains on partying to attract even more victims.
Although a majority of the Indian crypto scams took place in Pune, the scammers also hosted high-end luxury parties across Macau and Dubai to entice potential investors. They used these parties to defraud investors.
Indian police had received numerous complaints from defrauded investors in the past six months, which bolstered the evidence they had already collected in regards to the gang since last January.
Bitcoin Cache Seized During Sting
When the police busted Bhardwaj for perpetrating the crypto Ponzi scheme, they ordered him to return the principal amount invested in the scam, but the ringleader denied all allegations thrown his way.
Once the police began performing digital forensics on Bhardwaj and his gang’s crypto accounts, they found a treasure trove of cryptocurrencies.
As part of the haul, Indian police confiscated almost 452 bitcoins from a cryptocurrency wallet used by the scam’s gang members. Back in November, Indian authorities also seized 32 bitcoins, 390,000 rupees in cash, and 79.99 ether (ETH) as part of the continuing investigations in the case.
It is believed that the scammers still have 160 bitcoins stashed away somewhere, along with 80,000 ETH. The investigations are still ongoing, and police are still unearthing the full scale of this audacious crypto crime ring.
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