Over 1,000 Indian police officials have been caught up in a fake crypto scam that managed to dupe more than 250,000 victims out of an estimated Rs 2,000 crore ($240 million).
According to India Today, the Ponzi-style scheme enticed investors with promises of hefty returns on investment in two fictitious cryptocurrencies, Korvio Coin (KRO) and DGT Coin.
Victims, tempted by the promise of massive bitcoin-like gains, were fooled by fake websites displaying manipulated prices for the non-existent currencies. They were also encouraged to recruit more individuals with the money handed over by these new recruits used to pay older investors.
Police officers from Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi district reportedly lost millions of rupees to the scammers but while many were content to recoup their losses, some also became promoters, using their standing in the local community to attract other unsuspecting victims.
According to Tribune India, senior police sources say “It is a huge scam involving around Rs 2,000 crore and 2.5 lakh investors.” Two arrested suspects have reportedly confessed to owing $48 million (Rs 400 crore) to investors tricked by the crypto scam.
Addressing rumors of police involvement at an earlier press conference, Himachal Pradesh director general of police Sanjay Kundu assured those in attendance that everybody with a part to play would be dealt with according to the law. “We will get all the wrongdoers. The investigation is progressing in an organized and planned manner,” he said.
Earlier this month, a special investigation team (SIT) conducted searches spanning 35 locations, seven districts, and one police district in Himachal Pradesh. These raids turned up evidence including property records, documents, electronic devices, and mobile phones, and led to the arrests of seven people.
So far, police have arrested a total of nine individuals in relation to the scheme with two of those, known as Sukhdev and Hemraj, confessing to having over Rs 400 crore ($48 million) in liabilities relating to the scam.