Law enforcement agencies in India, based on a complaint from a local investor, organized a search for the founder of the BitConnect cryptocurrency pyramid, accused of fraud of $ 2.4 billion.
Satish Kumbhani, the founder of cryptocurrency pyramid BitConnect, who is accused of fraud by the US authorities, is wanted by the Indian police. The Pune Police Department in southwest India became interested in Kumbhani’s whereabouts after receiving a complaint from a local cryptocurrency investor who accused Kumbhani of stealing bitcoins.
A local lawyer lost about 220 BTC worth 420 million rupees (about $5.2 million) while investing in cryptocurrency platforms from 2016 to 2021. According to the victim, Kumbhani and six of his accomplices convinced the investor to invest 54 BTC in cryptocurrency projects. Thus, in addition to the initial investment, the lawyer lost the income of 166 BTC promised to him by the scammers.
This year, US authorities said Kumbhani had likely left India and his whereabouts are now unknown. Founded in 2016, the cryptocurrency pyramid BitConnect was a popular project during the heyday of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market. The organizers of BitConnect have raised billions of dollars by promising investors to pay out 10% of investment returns in their own BCC token. Users who attracted new investors received bonuses.
Kumbhani disappeared in February after he was charged by US authorities with running a $2.4 billion Ponzi scheme that targeted US citizens. He could face up to 70 years in prison. Last year, the US Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California sold $56 million worth of crypto assets confiscated from the “promoter” of the BitConnect pyramid scheme to compensate victims.