The U.S. Justice Department has received the green light to liquidate $56 million in digital currencies it seized from “the number one promoter” of the BitConnect mega scam. It described the liquidation as the “largest single recovery of a cryptocurrency fraud by the United States to date.”
BitConnect was a scam that allegedly defrauded over $2 billion from thousands of victims globally. It launched in 2016 and claimed to be a digital currency lending platform. Users traded their digital currencies for its native BitConnect coin, which accrued interest at a very high rate. It all went up in flames two years later, and since then, authorities have been after the lost funds.
U.S. authorities have been holding BitConnect promoter Glenn Arcaro from whose 20 digital currency wallets they recovered the stash they filed to liquidate. On September 1, Arcaro pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud for his role in the scam. He had earned over $24 million in commissions from BitConnect for bringing in new clients.
Following his admission, Arcaro will be sentenced on January 7, 2022, and faces a maximum penalty of two decades behind bars for his role in defrauding thousands of investors.
Judge Todd Robinson granted the request, which had been filed by the DoJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. Once the digital currencies are liquidated, the DoJ will use the funds to provide restitution to the victims.
The DoJ is urging all BitConnect victims to visit its website for information on the rights they possess, submit their victim impact statements, and identify themselves as potential victims to stand a chance of getting compensated.
BitConnect remains to be one of the most infamous and largest scams in the industry. Its founder, Indian national Satish Kumbhani is still at large. At one point, its BCC token was in the top 20 globally, trading for about $400 before North Carolina and Texas regulators started pursuing it, and it crashed spectacularly.
Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—a from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift, Coinbase, Ripple and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.
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