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Bitcoin Scam: More Victims Come Forward in India’s Biggest Bitcoin Fraud

 

More victims continue to come forward accusing Amit Bharadwaj and his accomplices of defrauding them with fake Bitcoin investment schemes. Recently, India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) froze $6 million worth of Bharadwaj’s assets as part of its investigations into the $278 million Bitcoin fraud case.

More Trouble for Amit Bharadwaj and Co

Within the last few days, ten other victims have filed complaints against Amit Bharadwaj; his brother, Ajay Bharadwaj; and one Hemant Bhopena. The victims accuse the three individuals of running an elaborate Bitcoin investment scam that defrauded them of Rs 3 crore ($408, 210).

According to The Times of India, a group of ten affected persons, led by Pratish Naik, say they attended a seminar in 2016 where Bhope introduced them to an investment opportunity with a ten percent monthly ROI. According to the complaint filed by Naik, the group received their returns up until January 2017.

Afterward, their deposits mysteriously vanished from their wallets, and the website of the investment program went offline. When confronted, Bhopena told the group to migrate to another investment platform which should be linked to the previous account. However, even after doing so, they didn’t receive any returns.

According to Business Standard, Naik, who is a businessman based in Vadodara, said the alleged con artists altered the terms of the original agreement by replacing “Bitcoin” with “cryptocurrency.” Jaydeepsinh Jadeja, the Deputy Police Commissioner, said that a probe was already underway. Jadeja also said that the case was registered under the country’s IPC and Information Technology Act.

India’s Biggest Bitcoin Scam

In April, Live Bitcoin News, reported on the arrest of Amit Bharadwaj and his brother Vivekkumar. The entire fraudulent scheme reportedly defrauded more than 8,000 victims across the country of Rs 2000 crore ($287 million), making it India’s biggest Bitcoin scam. Law enforcement arrested the duo after they flew in from Bangkok, putting an end to an eight-month-long chase.

Given the RBI ban against cryptocurrency trading, Bharadwaj’s scam likely provides more kindle for the anti-Bitcoin rhetoric that many state officials espouse. Despite efforts to overturn the ban, the RBI’s prohibition against banks facilitating cryptocurrency trading remains.

The investigation into the scam is ongoing. Authorities believe that Bharadwaj’s victims may even extend beyond the country’s borders, meaning that the magnitude of the fraud could reach $1 billion.

How can people better protect themselves against cryptocurrency investment scams? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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