Mumbai Police Bust $17 Million Crypto Scam
In the latest round of scams related to cryptos, law enforcement officials in Mumbai, India have busted a group of suspects that were reportedly involved in a crypto scam that allowed them to collect over INR1 billion (~$17 million).
Discovery of the Crime
The entire scam was uncovered when Umeshchand Jain, a resident of Surat, a small Indian city, filed a complaint that he had been defrauded of INR10.2 million (~$145,000).
Further investigation by the police revealed the scam. Inspector Sunil Jadhav explained the group’s modus operandi. The suspects conducted meetings in Surat and other parts of the Indian state of Gujarat, as well as in Mumbai.
The gang lured people into investing their money with promises of doubling what they put in in two months. They initially gave the promised returns to investors in a bid to attract more people to the scam, and then defaulted on them. Inspector Jadhav stated that the group’s intention had been to cheat the investors all along.
The report further revealed that the gang had launched a fake cryptocurrency called Cashcoin last year. This is what was then sold to unsuspecting investors with promises of doubled returns.
The Law Takes its Course
The investigation led to the several accounts across India being frozen. It also led to the arrest of four people – Sanjay Santakke, Alpesh Barodia, Rajnikant Kumavat and Kirankumar Panchsara.
According to local media reports, the local police are also searching for a fifth member, Ashok Goyal, who is suspected to have played a major role in this scam.
The Mumbai city crime branch have registered the offenses of breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy against the five suspects.
The lawyers of the accused claim that these men have been wrongly arrested by the police and are innocent of these crimes.
Increase in Crypto Scams
This is not the first set of arrests made by Indian law enforcers. In January, the police in the country arrested a person who was suspected to be associated with a group of scammers who were believed to have defrauded investors of INR5 billion (~$71.6 million).
In fact, according to a report released by the crypto-analytics firm Chainalysis last month, the value to ETH (Ethereum) tokens that have been stolen through such crypto-scams reached a whopping $36 million in 2018 alone. This figure had more than doubled since 2017.