Australia regulator shuts down $19M digital currency scam

Australia’s securities regulator has secured a court order to shut down a company that it alleges has defrauded close to $19 million from investors. The founders cashed out the investors’ money and used it to buy digital currencies, property, and luxury vehicles.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) announced that it had obtained the order against A One Multi Services Pty Ltd for engaging in unlawful activities.

It alleges that A One Multi founders Aryn Hala and Heidi Walters promised investors that they would invest their superannuation in a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) and then loan the money to the company. The two promised investors 20% annual investment returns, authorities said.

More than 60 investors deposited AUD25 million (US$18.6 million) into A One Multi. However, rather than invest the funds, the two founders channeled them into their personal uses. ASIC alleges that they cashed out US$4.3 million and used it to purchase luxury vehicles and property. They also used US$1.8 million to buy digital currencies.

The court order requires the two to transfer the digital assets in their names to court-appointed receivers. They must also put their company in receivership and are restrained from traveling.

Hala has already transferred a portion of the digital currencies to the receivers. The Federal Court in Queensland has issued further orders requiring Hala to surrender the remaining digital assets. The ASIC has moved quickly to obtain the orders “given ease with which crypto-assets can be transferred or transacted.”

Australia’s digital currency industry is maturing and scammers like A One Multi are being phased out. Just recently, a Brisbane-based law firm revealed it was working on launching a $100 million class-action lawsuit against Qoin, a token project that conspired to deny investors the ability to cash out. Qoin also lied about the utility of its token.

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