In spite of repeated warnings by the country’s central bank, people in India continue to fall for cryptocurrency scams.
In the latest, the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) of Rajasthan police has unearthed a Bitcoin scam worth INR 150 million ($2 million).
The police were alerted by a group of people who alleged they were duped out of their cryptocurrency investments into various companies like bet2bet and Monivo, local publication The Times of India reported today.
According to the police, the investors were promised “soaring returns at an exponential rate,” but ended up receiving nothing at all.
Monivo’s website is live as of press time, and screams fraud. Its home page features quotes from Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Eric Schmidt — likely an attempt to create the perception of them endorsing the company.
So far, the ATS has nabbed four accused, who are believed to be the main masterminds behind the Ponzi scheme. Vishal Gupta was arrested in the state’s capital Jaipur; Vikas Chaudhary and Mahesh Sharma were trapped in New Delhi, and Shilpa Sharma was apprehended in Dehradun.
A first information report has been filed against the accused for breach of trust, cheating, and criminal conspiracy under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
It isn’t known why the anti-terrorist squad was involved in the case instead of the regular criminal branch or financial authorities. Upon investigation, the sleuths ruled out the possibility of any terror-related activity or funding.
The investigating authorities suspect that the scam could have affected people in the rest of India and other countries too, but no complainants have yet come forward.