Police bust an alleged ₹5 billion cryptocurrency scam in India
- Authorities in the Indian city of Thane raided the offices of the
Money Trade Coin( MTC) on Monday.
- MTC advertises itself as a ‘safer’ and ‘superior alternative’ of storing wealth.
- But, to the contrary, complaints have surfaced about MTC being a front for international fraud.
Cryptocurrencies have never been considered to be a ‘stable’ financial asset, but add fraud into the mix and things can get really complicated. And, that’s exactly what happened in Thane, a city that lies on the periphery of Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra.
The cryptocurrency racket
Amit Lakhanpal, in collusion with four other people, launched a cryptocurrency called Money Trade Coin (MTC) at an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in
MTC was initially valued at $3 (₹200) when it launched in 2017 with Lakhanpal allegedly promising investors a 20-fold return on their buy-in within six months according to Param Bir Singh, the police commissioner in Thane.
Soon enough, he raised the value of MTC to $6,000 (₹401,472). Cumulatively, with 2,500 people in the mix, that amounts to ₹5 billion. But, there was no way for them to sell any of the cryptocurrency or even make limited withdrawals.
So, basically, people made an investment but couldn’t get to their returns, or even the principal amount.
In fact, the scam only caught the attention of the authorities when a businessman and his colleagues finally complained that they could no longer get a response from the company with respect to their investments.
According to the police, it was easy for Lakhanpal to get away with the scheme due to the portfolio he had created for himself, including a fake degree from an international university. Apparently, he launched a magazine that highlighted ‘inspirational quotes’ and images of famous celebrities as well as a book on cryptocurrency, which added to his profile.
It’s not about whether to invest or not, but rather about whether or not it will create more of a controversy if its reported, for the victims.
Popular on BI
- An American tourist in Seoul said he sprayed graffiti in 155 places to raise awareness about teeth grinding
- X could lose $75 million in ad revenue after a litany of controversies from Elon Musk, including his endorsement of antisemitic comments, report says
- The S&P 500 will trade near its all-time high before a recession drags it down again in a topsy-turvy 2024, Société Générale says
- White collar roles more at threat from AI
- Market cap of BSE-listed firms hits record high of Rs 331 lakh crore; just shy of entering $4-trillion club
- 10 Best honeymoon places near Delhi
- Samsung launches new smartphone with 50 MP camera in India
- Unveiling the sweet side of corn: 7 mouthwatering recipes