Con artists in India have been accused of duping at least 12 people of over $250,000 in the latest cryptocurrency scam. Local business people were persuaded into investing in the KBC Coin and promising them huge returns. The KBC Coin was named after Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”
Victims Received Dividends for a While
According to The Hindu publication of February 26, 2019, a Mumbai resident, Pritam Patil, together with his associates, was accused of duping 12 people out of over $250,000 in a Ponzi scheme involving cryptocurrency.
The Economic Offence Wing of Navi Mumbai Police has said the accused created a virtual company with the explicit intention to commit the crime.
The plaintiff in the case, agricultural trader Nanasaheb Patil and 11 other people bought the KBC Coin from Pritam Patil and his associates in the AFC Mint Coin website, with AFC standing for “A Future Cryptocurrency.” Nanasaheb told the police Pritam Patil promised him and his employees’ good returns through the KBC Coin scheme.
Pritam Patil is alleged to have told the victims the price of the KBC Coin would surge to $1. Most of the victims who hadn’t the slightest idea of cryptocurrencies and how they work indeed received dividends for a while.
The scam was most active during the cryptocurrency boom from December 2017 and April 2018 during which Nanasaheb Patil and his employees coughed up roughly $171,828.17.
The Company’s website described itself as “legally certified to provide [a] global AFC Coin investment platform.” This alone is a ridiculous claim knowing that the Indian government has been struggling with the decision on whether to regulate cryptocurrencies.
There has been a long drawn court case between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and cryptocurrency exchanges that prompted the Supreme Court on February 25, 2019, to give the government a four-week ultimatum to come up with a cryptocurrency regulatory framework.
Nanasaheb Patil reported to the police on realizing that the website had shut down in September 2018 and on contacting Pritam Patil, he was informed that the company had shut down and that they were not going to be receiving any more money.
Tushar Doshi, a senior police officer working with the Crime Branch in Mumbai, told The Hindu outlet:
“Mr. Patil gave a written application to us. We found that he and his employees were cheated by the accused by creating a fake virtual company.”