NEW DELHI: A 31-year-old man from Kerala – Nishad, allegedly duped at least 900 people of over Rs 1,200 crore after making them invest in fake cryptocurrency coins.
According to reports, ED sources reveal that the investments were made in 2020, mostly during the first wave of Covid-19. The victims bought the “Morris Coin”, listed with a Coimbatore-based cryptocurrency exchange called Franc Exchange.
“Ten Morris coins were valued at Rs 15,000 with a lock-in period of 300 days. The currency was fake. The investors were given an e-wallet and told that the coin value would boom when traded in the exchange. But the promoters of the coin siphoned out the money and illegally invested in immovable properties in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, particularly in real estate without showing any source of income,’’ an ED source reportedly said.
Searches have been conducted at several locations by the Enforcement Directorate including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Delhi.
As per a report in the Indian Express, Unni Mukundan Films Pvt. Ltd, floated by Malayalam actor Unni Mukundan, and Nextel Group, has also been searched by the ED.
“The ED official wanted to know about the source of income behind the venture. I have given them all the details,” Mukundan said.
Nishad, of Pookkottumpadam village in Malappuram district, has been identified as the mastermind in the case. The accused had left the country after obtaining anticipatory bail from Kerala High Court in the police cases.
The alleged criminals were also involved in a Ponzi scheme. After the company stopped paying the promised profits, many of the investors went to the police and complained.
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