Himachal Pradesh: A nefarious group of fraudsters operating in Himachal Pradesh devised a scheme that tricked thousands of investors, amassing a staggering sum of over Rs 200 crore over a span of five years, starting from the crypto frenzy of 2018. The fraudulent activities involved two primary cryptocurrencies, KRO and DGT, promising substantial returns in a short timeframe to lure unsuspecting individuals.
Posing as Profitable Investments
The con artists behind the scam began their operations by introducing ‘Korvio Coin’ or KRO coin, attracting initial investors with promises of high returns and requesting an activation fee. This was just the beginning of their well-planned Ponzi-style strategy, enticing early investors to bring in more people, creating a cycle where new investments were used to pay off earlier investors, giving the appearance of profitability.
A Web of Deception and Exploitation
The fraudsters went to great lengths to maintain control over their scam. They used misinformation, deception, and threats, manipulating coin prices and creating fake websites to showcase their coins. Subsequently, they introduced ‘DGT Coin’, raising the price initially and then abruptly dropping it, causing significant losses for many.
Lawmakers Take Notice
The matter caught the attention of Independent MLA Hoshyar Singh, who estimated the fraud to be upwards of Rs 200 crore in Kangra and Hamirpur alone. Following his raising of the issue in the Vidhan Sabha, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was swiftly assembled to delve into the fraudulent operations.
Police Crackdown and Ongoing Investigations
As the SIT takes charge, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Abhishek Dhullar, highlighted that while five individuals have been arrested, the mastermind behind this operation remains at large. The investigation is ongoing to ascertain the precise amount swindled from unsuspecting investors.
“We are close to nabbing the kingpins of cryptocurrency scams in Himachal Pradesh and have mapped their assets and are conducting a financial investigation,” said Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu.
A Warning to the Public
Authorities are urging the public to exercise caution and refrain from falling victim to cryptocurrency fraudsters. The cryptocurrency market has witnessed various rug-pull schemes in recent years, reiterating the need for vigilance and thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency venture.
The police have received 50 complaints related to such frauds this year alone, prompting intensified efforts to bring those responsible to justice. Through continued investigations and public awareness, the authorities aim to curb these fraudulent activities and protect potential investors from falling prey to similar scams.
As the pursuit of justice intensifies, Himachal Pradesh remains vigilant against the clutches of cryptocurrency fraud, striving to protect its citizens from financial exploitation.
Here is how the conmen operated their scheme using ‘Korvio Coin’ (KRO) and ‘DGT Coin’:
Korvio Coin (KRO):
- Initial Activation Fee: Conmen introduced ‘Korvio Coin’ and enticed investors by promising high returns. They charged an activation fee from investors looking to participate.
- Promise of Substantial Returns: Investors were lured with grand promises of substantial returns on their investments, capitalizing on the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies.
- Ponzi-Style Strategy: Using a Ponzi scheme approach, early investors were encouraged to bring in more individuals, creating a cycle where new investments were used to pay returns to earlier participants, giving a façade of profitability.
- Fake Websites and Misinformation: To maintain control over their scheme, the fraudsters created fake websites, manipulated coin prices, and disseminated misinformation to deceive and attract more investors.
- Price Manipulation: The fraudsters launched ‘DGT Coin’ and initially raised its price, enticing investors to purchase.
- Abrupt Price Drop (Rugpull): After a significant number of people invested, they deliberately dropped the price abruptly, causing substantial losses to the investors.
- Repeat of Ponzi Tactics: This new coin followed a similar pattern, encouraging earlier investors to rope in more participants, repeating the Ponzi scheme tactics.
The combination of these tactics and cryptocurrencies (KRO and DGT) allowed the conmen to exploit unsuspecting investors, resulting in significant financial losses for many.
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