Authorities in Maharashtra, a western Indian state, have detained two men on allegations of running a crypto scam, CoinDesk reported. Ritesh “Pancha” Kumar and Mohan Patil are believed to have conned over 1,400 investors, making away with as much as $12 million.
According to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Thane Police, the men were arrested after raids in two Mumbai regions, Thane and Powai.
The mastermind and the agent
Kumar and Patil were the mastermind and the agent respectively. Patil lured clients from across India into the scam. The two remain in jail.
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An officer from the EOW said, “In court, while securing custody, we stated that based on currently available information the scam is worth 6 crore ($750,000), but we estimate the amount to be upwards of 50 crore and below 100 crore.
“Some discrepancies in the amount of money associated with each of the 1,400 or so investors have emerged.”
The scam involved cheating investors with false promises of huge returns. The setup was simple: the more you invest, the bigger the excepted returns.
The investors were lured into buying two crypto tokens called Magic 3x and SMP, which were not listed on any exchange.
More and more victims emerge
So far, the damage amounts to 4.4 million rupees, which a total of 24 investors have lost. According to police, more and more people are coming forward and the number is increasing.
Another officer added, “The culprits would lure customers promising rates of interest ranging from 0.05% to 1% per day depending on the amount invested.
“If 24,000 rupees were invested, the rate of return was 0.05% per day with the promise that within 20 months that amount would triple to around 72,000 rupees.”