Law enforcements in India busted an organized cryptocurrency group that is accused of defrauded investors. It is estimated that the alleged scammers defrauded over Rs 400 million.
According to reports the funds were transferred via ‘Ether Trade Asia,’ which was owned by the alleged scammers. The raid took place at Lonavala in cooperation with Pune rural police.
City police chief Amitesh Kumar said the amount may be higher than Rs 400 million and it is still being investigated. During the raid the police also seized weapons, 50 tola gold (approx.) and luxury vehicles.
Nishid Wasnik Arrested
The police was able to identify 172 investors that lost their money to the group but suspect the number is greater. Nishid Wasnik, his wife (Pragati), Gajanan Mungune and Sandesh Landjewar were arrested in the raid.
At least 1,500 – 2,000 Ethers were traced but as cash transactions were also used, the total amount is probably higher. Wasnik is also wanted for the murder of Madhav Pawar that took place last year. According to the allegations, Wasnik murdered Pawar for refusing to provide the password for one of the crypto wallets that held the transactions.
The gang has been allegedly defrauding investors since 2017. An event took place in a hotel in Pachmari where investors were invited. To invest in various projects, the guests were asked to buy Ethereum through ZebPay and transfer the cryptocurrencies to Ether Trade Asia.
The investors knowledge on cryptocurrencies was very limited.. The common factor in past crypto scams is the guarantee of a daily or monthly interest. Scammers have lured investors by promising 3% a day for example in crypto investments.
When some of the investors attempt to withdraw their capital they face ‘technical issues.’
Cyber security experts were able to track the alleged scammers’ activity online. Last year the gang kept changing regions until they finally settled in Lonavala. The operation lasted 90 minutes and ended at 5am.