Indian police in the city of Pune have charged Amit Bharadwaj along with three other individuals – Vivek Bharadwaj, Pankaj Adlakha and Hemant Bhope, involved in a multi-level marketing (MLM) crypto scam.
It is alleged that Amit who is the central character of the trial collected about Rs 10 crore (about $1.42 million) from unsuspecting investors, under the guise of high-yield cryptocurrency investments.
The Back Story
Amit Bhardwaj started his cryptocurrency journey in 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. He describes himself as an entrepreneur, investor, dreamer, and pioneer of Bitcoin on LinkedIn. He boasts of being the founder of four crypto-based businesses – Amaze Miners, GB Miners, CoinBank, and Amaze Mining & Blockchain Research Ltd.
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Although being the founder of several businesses is not a bad thing, Amit roped himself in by the promises he made to investors. Quoting his description of Amaze Miners on LinkedIn for example, he stated that:
“World’s Most Intelligent Alt-coin Mining Technology. We have produced upto 200% yearly returns on the investment in Alt-coin Mining.”
They promised as much as a 10% monthly return on Bitcoin investments for a period of 18 months.
According to an article by The Indian Express, Amit along with his team held elaborate parties and summits in Macau and Dubai. Yachts were booked for several days, all in a bid to lure investors. One of the investors was quoted on the news site saying that:
“We were invited to attend the investors’ summit in Dubai and Macau. Tickets along with other documents were sent to us. When we started raising our voice for not getting the profit on our invested money in Bitcoin during the summits, Amit and his younger brother Aditya Bhardwaj assured us that our money would be returned but all in vain. Apart from India, people from China, Vietnam, Dubai, Mauritius and other countries were also present at these summits.”
The scheme came crumbling when investors were not getting their returns as promised last year. Several investors lodged complaints against Amit claiming that they had been scammed. Amit was however arrested in Bangkok on March 31, last year. He and his accomplices have remained in custody ever since.
The accused have been identified as kingpin Amit Bharadwaj, his brother Vivek Bharadwaj, Pankaj Adlakha and Hemant Bhope. Earlier, police submitted a chargesheet against Sanchit, a resident of Delhi and Rajesh Kumar alias Raju of Rajasthan, who was said to be living in Delhi. They were arrested from Delhi. Police said they had direct links with the main accused, Amit Bharadwaj.
Times of India reporting on the roles played by each of the accused underlined Amit Bharadwaj as the mastermind of the scheme. His brother Vivek functioned as the marketing manager and promoter of Gainbit coin and also doubled as a speaker during company-organized events. Pankaj Adlakha and Hemant Bhope handled the roles of promoter and motivational speaker/organizing secretary, respectively.
Featured image from Shutterstock.