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India: Police Halt Bizarre ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Crypto Scam

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:54 PM
P. H. Madore
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:54 PM

According to local police and the Hindu , a Mumbai resident named Pritam Patil stands accused of scamming 12 people out of around $250,000 in a crypto scam. Patil and a partner pestered a local businessman and his partners for months to invest in KBC Coin. As reported by Hard Fork , KBC Coin is named after “Kaun Banega Crorepati,” the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” featured in “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Nanasaheb Patil and 11 associates bought KBC Coin from Patil and his friend Pintu Bajaj.  The AFC Mint coin website was down at time of writing, but we found a back-up here. AFC stood for “A Future Cryptocurrency.”

Who Wants to Go to Prison?

A local video, featured below, warned against the crypto:


Patil and Bajaj promised their victims that the KBC Coin cryptocurrency would go to $1. Without any prior knowledge of the crypto market, the victims made the investment and, apparently, received dividends for awhile.

AFC Mint’s website described AFC as “legally certified to provide global AFC Coin investment platform.” This is a peculiar claim, given that Indian authorities have yet to figure out how they’re going to regulate cryptocurrencies. The situation has grown so annoying to the Indian courts that yesterday they issued a four-week deadline for crypto regulations.

Crypto Scam Pumped ‘Clever Contracts’

The Hindu reports that Patil and Bajaj told their victims that their website served as proof of their business registration. The victims might have seen that as a red flag, but the time frame of the scam is perfect: the crypto market was booming. One funny item from the AFC Mint website is the way they describe “smart contracts” and the taxable nature of cryptocurrencies. It’s brilliant for its ignorance:

“Did you realize that in the United States that cryptocurrency is considered a commodity? So this means you get splendid tax breaks! Also many countries do not even tax it. Many people assume clever contracts are the future! That is just like the dawn of the internet. Money will never be the equal again.”

Aside from several ICO scams that have victimized unwitting Indian nationals, the Bitconnect scheme did well there. The global scam netted at least $3 billion in the country, and authorities there were asked to seize the assets of several local promoters. The Asian head of the Bitconnect pyramid was eventually arrested at the Delhi airport.

Featured Image from AFP PHOTO / STR