A one-year-old cryptocurrency fraud case, involving an Indian suspect, has reached a deadlock, as affected investors refuse to testify.
Lack of Witness Testimonies Stall Proceedings
A Goregaon resident, Subhashchand Jewria, was accused of luring investors to his fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme in 2017. Almost a year later, victims have not come forward to testify against Jewria. As reported by The Indian Express, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police called the case a deadlock.
In Q1 2017, the accused set up a company in the UK called ATC Coin Ltd, and set up various websites, calling for investors. Jewria further asked investors to put in between Rs 5,000 and Rs 20,000 in his company. Also, the accused promised investors that the ATC coins would be used to shop online after an 18-month lock-in period.
However, after raising to Rs 84 crore, Jewria transferred investors’ funds to his private accounts. The agency claimed that it received complaints from different sources about Jewria’s activities. Furthermore, the investigation by the law enforcement agency showed that the company was fake and the accused operated under the guise of virtual currency.
The EOW added that the company didn’t exist beyond paper. Consequently, the authorities arrested Jewria and Chirag, his brother and froze twenty-eight accounts.
The authorities located few of the victims affected by Jewria’s fraudulent scheme but discovered that no one wanted to testify. An EOW officer, commenting on the unwillingness of victims to testify, said:
Since the case deals with cryptocurrency and in the absence of proper law and regulation, investors are scared that if they come forward, they might face a lot of scrutinies. While we managed to trace a few of investors, they did not lodge any complaint. The case has been stuck since then.
The officer also added the EOW froze the accused’s assets but couldn’t pay out to investors because they refused to provide evidence.
Combating Cryptocurrency Fraud
Since the introduction of Bitcoin in 2008, many fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes have popped up, with promises of high returns. Regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies around the world are alert such schemes, and waste no time in arresting fraudsters.
In July, Joe E. Montroll, owner of WeExchange and BiFunder, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for lying to law enforcement agents. Montroll embezzled Bitcoins deposited by customers in his platform for his flamboyant lifestyle.
Also, a cybersecurity firm, Flashpoint, in September shut down a fake website that imitated the Jaxx Wallet website. According to Flashpoint, the fraudsters set up the fake website to illegally steal users’ virtual currencies.