South African authorities are investigating a company called Bitcaw Trading Company for investment fraud following a loss of more than 1 billion rand (approx $80 million) affected 28,000 people, according to a news release from the South African Police Service.
A unit called the Serious Economic Offenses Unit will investigate the fraud. Authorities believe certain individuals were targeted in a scam in which BTC Global representatives made promises of earning 50% interest per month, 14% per week and 2% per day.
The police press release does not state that Bitcaw Trading Company is a cryptocurrency scam, but a website for a company with that name states that it is a bitcoin investment.
Certain investors received payments, the police news release noted, but at some point, the payments stopped. The payments allegedly were made each Monday.
Yolisa Matakata, a lieutenant general and the acting national head of the DPCI, urged people who made investments in the scheme to contact the police.
Matakata said the losses identified to date could be the “tip of the iceberg” and that thousands more individuals could have lost funds. The current scam serves as a reminder that non-regulated investments, be they domestic or foreign, carry high risks and investors could sacrifice their savings and pensions.
The investigation will take time to complete due to the magnitude of the losses, Matakata said.
The police website lists police individuals people can contact by phone or email. All information provided to the police will be kept in confidence, the new release stated.
According to a March report, BTC Global was launched on Sept. 25, 2017 by a trader named Steven Twain, and it was accused of being a scam from the start.
Investors initially received dividends, but in February, Twain was no longer heard from, resulting in the launch of an investigation. Police spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha said in March he could not say whether BTC Global is a Ponzi scheme, but that it was under investigation for violating the country’s Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.
A current website for Bitcaw Trading identifies Andrew Caw as the founder and states that for the last three years he has helped people create wealth through bitcoin.
The current website says Bitcaw is not selling mining or trading but is promoting holding bitcoin and keeping its safe. It states that over the last three years, holding bitcoin would have yielded more than 6,000% growth on initial capital.
The site says it requires an EFT to begin and a secure wallet, which Bitcaw will help investors establish.
The site also notes that a Coin Buyers Club will begin on June 1, 2018 founded by brothers Andrew Caw and James Caw. It states that the club is a new approach to acquiring bitcoin through a monthly debit order. It further states most employed people can set aside R500 to R5,000 per month from their salary to build wealth, and invites investors to fill out a form to get started.
The site includes some testimonials from people identified by first names only.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Last modified (UTC): May 28, 2018 09:59