Exactly a year after Thane security operatives crushed a scam cryptocurrency project worth five billion rupees, Delhi police have reportedly arrested another associate of the head of the scheme according to local media, The Indian Express on January 7, 2018.
Scam ICO Busted
Per sources close to the matter, Amit Lakhanpal, a 32-year-old Indian resident launched a fraudulent cryptocurrency project dubbed “Money Trade Coin” (MTC) in 2018 and solicited investments from the public, promising high returns on investments. Whereas in truth, the “shitcoin” was never listed on any cryptocurrency exchange and had no use case whatsoever.
That’s not all, Lakhanpal also set up an office in Delhi’s Vikram Nagar area where he sold the coins to residents at exorbitant prices, and deceived gullible investors into believing that they could use the tokens to purchase houses in Dubai once the value appreciated.
To make his project look as genuine as possible, the fraudster who reportedly owns a real estate firm allegedly used the proceeds from the scam project to organize high-profile ceremonies which were attended by dignitaries in Dubai including some members of the royal family.
He also claimed to be a member of the Ministry of Finance, adding that the MTC project had offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, and even the United Kingdom, and was on the verge of getting adopted by the Ministry. The police said:
“The accused also showed prospective clients an article in an international publication, which claimed that one of the royals was his partner.”
End of the Road, Crypto Regulations Essential to Curb Crime?
Although Lakhanpal, the figurehead of the scam scheme remains at large, local law enforcement managed to arrest three of his accomplices last year including his accountant.
However, in the latest development, Delhi police have reportedly used a lead provided by an unnamed Kanpur resident to capture another critical member of the gang, Rohit Kumar.
Whilst cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies continue their slow but steady ride towards mainstream adoption, bad actors have leveraged the nascent and seemingly unregulated nature of the industry to create confusion and trouble in recent times, with regulators working round the clock to formulate policies to curb the menace.
It’s worthy of note that in the first six months 2018, the cryptocurrency ecosystem lost $761 million to hackers.
In related news, BTCManager informed in December 2018, that the cyber crime department of India’s Pune police had seized 452 bitcoins from one of the organizers of a crypto-powered Ponzi scheme.