South African Police Investigators are currently pursuing an alleged massive cryptocurrency investment fraud, according to police statements issued May 25th. The statement says over 28,000 investors suffered losses totaling up to $80.4 Million.
South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) has tasked their investigative unit, the Hawks, to look into the BitCaw Trading Company, also known as BTC Global. The DPCI also described the scheme as:
“[Targeted members of the public are believed to have been] encouraged by BTC Global agents to invest with promises of 2% interest per day, 14% per week and ultimately 50% per month. Payments were allegedly made every Monday. Some of the investors got paid in terms of the agreement. However, the payments suddenly stopped.”
Using these unrealistic promises, marketing agency SEO Spark last year called BTC Global a fraudulent Ponzi-scheme and predicted huge investor losses.
BitCaw Trading denied the allegations and told Bloomberg in a report that “BitCaw Trading […] do[es] not manage third-party money or offer any kind of investment […] We are shocked to see our name connected with [the alleged scam].”
BTC Global’s website blames an elusive former admin who they are “unable to locate” as the cause of the terminated payments, saying that:
“We are as shocked and angry at everyone. But we all knew the risks involved in placing funds with Steven. We all became complacent with Steven. And all of us funded him independently. Until Steven Twain resurfaces or is found there is nothing the admin team can do…”
Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata of the Hawks investigative team called on all other affected investors to step forward, saying in a statement that “This may prove to be the tip of the iceberg with potentially thousands more yet to discover they’ve lost money.”
Last May 25th, South Africa’s Central Bank has chosen to call cryptocurrencies as Cyber-Tokens, saying they “don’t meet the requirements of money.”