Victims of $3.6B crypto Ponzi still believe they’ll get their money back
Victims who still believe they’ll get their money back from a $3.6 billion South Korean crypto Ponzi — potentially one of history’s biggest — are hampering police investigations.
Seoul-headquartered and self-styled crypto exchange V Global was allegedly a front for an elaborate scam that fleeced nearly 70,000 hopefuls out of 4 trillion won.
- V Global toured the country promising investors who sunk at least 6 million won ($5,300) would receive triple returns.
- Marks could access 7 levels — each promised more profit if they recruited more people.
- The company also sold a native token, echoing BitConnect.
When the Gyeonggi Police Agency swooped in to arrest V Global’s CEO and 70 employees last month (the investigation started in January) — it looked to end the story.
So far, according to Bitcoin News, police charged 60 with fraud and confiscated 240 billion won ($215 million).
130 investors agreed to file a joint class action lawsuit against V Global last week.
However, the case isn’t as straightforward as authorities might hope. They say efforts to prosecute suspects and claw back stolen money aren’t progressing as many victims still cling to hope the scheme is legit.
Keep quiet, V Global is going to the moon
As reported by Korea Joon Ang Daily, a number of reasons explain why victims aren’t coming forward.
Many simply believe what they were told when they invested: money would be returned even if something went wrong (like a police investigation).
The alleged scammers themselves have even reportedly contacted some to urge them to sit tight.
Others are pressured into holding out on police by close friends desperate to see their initial investment returned.
One man explained to reporters how his mother still thought her 13 million won ($11,600) V Global investment is safe.
“I’ve told my mother that she ought to report the case to the police,” he told Korea Joon Ang Daily. “But she thinks she can get the money back just like the group promised her.”
He explained he figured she wasn’t alone after hearing many victims were elderly, “new to the concept of cryptocurrency.”
“A few days ago they sent her a text message alleging that no one in the company is being investigated by the police. They keep telling the investors to wait and see, to prevent them from reporting them to the police.”
Lawyers reportedly say V Global estimated the exchange was still withholding 1 trillion won ($896 million) from investors, despite the amounts already retrieved by police.
Although, the actual figures could be much higher.
The GOATs of crypto Ponzi
If V Global really did fraudulently raise $3.6 billion, the ploy would be among the biggest crypto-related Ponzis in history.
V Global would rank behind the $4 billion OneCoin but higher than enormous PlusToken crypto Ponzi from China, which unravelled about 18 months ago.
PlusToken overall pilfered 180,000 BTC and 6.4 million ETH under the guise of guaranteed profit, worth $2 billion at the time.
[Read more: FBI ties and Ponzi games — here’s what SafeMoon doesn’t want you to know]
Blockchain analytics unit Chainalysis in December 2019 attributed a lengthy dip in Bitcoin’s price to PlusToken insiders cashing out their crypto on exchanges.
Today, PlusToken’s BTC would be worth $5.78 billion and its ETH would fetch $15.45 billion.