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Monday, January 17, 2022

Cryptocurrency investors alert! Rs 1200 crore duped in the name of ‘initial coin offering’

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The Enforcement Directorate has reported that around 900 people have been duped to the tune of Rs 1200 crore in an “Initial Coin Offering” (ICO) of a cryptocurrency that is non-existent. The concept of the new cryptocurrency was surfaced by a man in Kerala. The investments were made to look lucrative in a way similar to initial public offering (IPO) in the stock markets. Also Read – India gets its first crypto index, IC15: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin take top positions

A report by The Indian Express has revealed that the investment in the fake cryptocurrency was done in the year 2020, after the lockdown was enforced. The crypto by the name “Morris Coin” was listed in a Coimbatore-based exchange called Franc Exchange. The investors were given a lock-in period of 300 days. Also Read – Female cryptocurrency investors comprise 15% of userbase: CoinSwitch Kuber

The report cited an ED source who claimed that 10 Morris coins were priced at Rs 15,000. The investors were offered an e-wallet to deposit the money with the classic promise of multifold return in a short period. The money was easily siphoned off from that e-wallet. The source claimed that the fraudsters then extracted the money from the wallet and directly started investing in real estate properties in states such Kerala, Tamil Nadu and even Karnataka. No source of income was shown before the purchase. Also Read – From crypto to foldable phones, top 5 tech trends that will dominate 2022

The govt agency also conducted raids in other states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and even in Delhi. The ED searched Bengaluru-based Long Rich Technologies, and Morris Trading Solutions. Further, Unni Mukundan Films Pvt Ltd. and Nextel Group was also searched in connection with the crypto bust. The ED wanted clarity about the source of income for investment in the production company.

The report suggests that a 31-year-old man by the name Nishad has been found to be one of the main culprits in this scam. He is also allegedly linked with Malayalam actor Unni Mukundan from Unni Mukundan Films. Suspects with no specific financial and educational background are also being investigated in the matter.

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