Indian authorities have taken into custody 8 more individuals, among them four police officers, in connection with a vast cryptocurrency fraud that has now grown to a staggering $300 million (equivalent to 2500 crore Indian rupees).
The fraudulent scheme initially surfaced in late September and entailed the victimization of numerous individuals, including government officials and members of the police force.
Over 100,000 People Invested in Crypto Fraud
This fraudulent operation, suspected to have its origins dating back to 2018, enticed victims with investment opportunities centered around a local cryptocurrency called Korvio Coin (KRO coins).
As the scheme developed, it expanded to encompass various other cryptocurrencies via counterfeit websites, including at least one instance of a “rug pull,” where the project was abandoned after people had invested in the token.
What makes this particular fraud unique is the involvement of law enforcement personnel, with over 1,000 officers becoming entangled in the scheme. Some were unknowingly victimized, while others actively took part and became promoters of the fraudulent operation.
Authorities Intensify Investigation into Ponzi Scheme
Over the past two years, approximately 56 complaints were filed, triggering a thorough investigation carried out by multiple agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate and regional police teams. This investigation was overseen by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The cryptocurrency fraud was initially exposed by independent MLA Hoshyar Singh in the parliament of Himachal Pradesh. At the time, the fraudulent scheme was estimated to be worth around $20 million.
As reported previously, authorities conducted raids at various locations, revealing approximately 250,000 identification cards associated with the suspects involved in the scam.
Reportedly, more than 100 individuals have reaped profits of around $240,000 each from this scam, while another 200 made approximately $120,000 each. As of now, 18 arrests have been carried out, although the alleged mastermind, Subhash Sharma, remains at large.
The Enforcement Directorate is also investigating the involvement of five women suspected of acting as agents or promoters for the mastermind. The victims of this scheme come from various backgrounds and collectively invested over ₹2,500 crore in this intricate Ponzi scheme.
India is presently witnessing a notable rise in complex cryptocurrency frauds, and authorities are grappling with the challenges of prosecuting those responsible for such scams.