Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are based on Blockchain technology and Decentralized Finance and are touted to be almost unhackable. However, dubious players find ingenious methods to dupe the naïve investors.
NDTV reveals that a scam has been perfected by a fraudster based somewhere in West Asia. With a website, the fraudster was able to pull out a fraud worth Rs 1,200 crores.
Fraud operated with just a website
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a case against 31-year-old Malappuram native Nishad K for pulling out a cryptocurrency fraud running into Rs 1,200 crores in the country. Most of the victims are non-resident Keralites (NRKs) who were promised huge returns on investment in a non-existent cryptocurrency called ‘Morris Coin. Nishad was able to carry out the deception with just a website — morriscoin.com
The ED, which is investigating the case, has attached properties of Nishad obtained from his ill-gotten wealth. The investigation revealed that the fund was invested in real estate in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala projects. Nishad, who created the website, did not give any address or phone number. Still, people believed him and invested money on the assurance that they would get Morris Coin and three percent of the invested amount as returns daily.
Kingpin arrested in 2020 but jumped bail
The police could get their hands on seven people; the main kingpin, Nishad, has gone underground. He was earlier arrested in connection with a Morris Coin fraud case registered at Pookoottupadam police station in Malappuram on September 28, 2020. However, he managed to give the police the slip, according to Kannur ACP P P Sadanandan.
PP Sadanandan was instrumental in uncovering the fraud. The probe revealed that the arrested persons used their bank accounts to collect money from the people. Most of the bank accounts were in the rural branches of Ujjivan Bank in Kerala to collect money from the people. Investigators were astonished to find transactions of Rs 90 crore to Rs 100 crore from each of the arrested who helped Nishad carry out the fraud.
The modus operandi was just like any other Ponzi scheme. Investors first invested small amounts, and the faith was gained by making prompt payments when the investor invested more significant quantities and became a victim of the fraud.
Cryptocurrency consultant Sinjith K Nanminda said that cryptocurrency is still a grey area for many. Bitcoin, which was valued a fraction of what it is today, often aid fraudsters to ensnare the gullible. It’s easy to dupe people in the name of cryptocurrency. Nishad also did the same, and ignorant people fell for it.