Bitcoin is a fascinating phenomenon for many who have observed its value hitting through the roof and then tapering down to half from its peak. While some early investors who dared to invest in the virtual currency had made a killing as Bitcoin value surged, with a little or no clue about cryptocurrency, many fall prey to scams.
After the arrest of notorious Amit Bhardwaj in Bangkok, Deepak Jangra and Deepak Malhotra were held by Delhi Police for duping over 5,000 people to the tune of crores of rupees.
Drawing inspiration from Bhardwaj’s GainBitcoin, Jangra and Malhotra founded Bitmineplus in 2016.
Leveraging a slew of networking events at many posh five star hotels, the duo enticed a few hundred people to invest and lured others via multi-level marketing concept. According to the police, both accused hatched a Ponzi scheme with a lucrative 12 per cent monthly return on the invested amount.
Investors were asked to buy bitcoins from Bitmineplus, which was eventually bought from a US-based entity on their behalf. About 2,000 bitcoins were bought by investors through the Delhi-based company.
Earlier this month, Bhardwaj, who allegedly duped thousands of investors was arrested from Bangkok. He is facing scam charges worth $300 million (approx Rs 2,000 crore) attached to his company GainBitcoin.
During the investigation, Jangra revealed that he had approached Malhotra to market the scheme through events and other means. In the beginning, Jangra has given the committed monthly payout as well as an incentive on referrals. However, later he stopped payments to investors and fled from Delhi with family.
As per officials involved in the investigation, Jangra also had a plan to shift investors to his own cryptocurrency after scoring a handsome return through investment in Bitcoin. However, rising debt and investors wrath after failing to provide committed monthly gain made him disappear.
Over the past 12-18 months, cryptocurrency-based investments are on rising. According to Income Tax Department, more than $3.5 billion worth of transactions has been conducted through the virtual currencies over a 17 month period.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India, have been emphasising time and again that cryptocurrencies are illegal in India.
The development was first reported by TOI.