The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has charged the Australian national representative of cryptocurrency scheme BitConnect with a number of financial crimes, in the latest action to be taken against the company.
The Australian regulator brought the legal action following an investigation into John Louis Anthony Bigatton and his involvement with the multi-billion dollar scam, which has allegedly targeted victims across the world.
Back in September, the regulator slapped Bigatton with a seven year ban on providing financial services. Now, he stands accused of operating an unregistered managed investment scheme and providing financial advice without a license to do so, contrary to the laws of Australia.
Bigatton has also been accused of making false and misleading statements to entice investors to part with their cash, during the period August 2017 to January 2018, numbering four separate counts.
Altogether, the charges could see Bigatton facing a custodial sentence of up to 5 years in jail, plus a fine up to a maximum of AUD$42,000, equivalent to around US$30,800, for operating an unregistered investment scheme, with a further fine at the same level plus 2 years in jail for providing unlicensed financial advice.
On each of the four charges of false and misleading statements, Bigatton also faces up to 10 years in jail, with a fine of up to AUD$945,000 available to the court—roughly US$693,000.
The case against John Louis Anthony Bigatton comes amid a global crackdown on BitConnect and its senior executives. The scam was pulled successfully around the world, encouraging unsuspecting investors to part with their money to support the fraudulent investment scheme. In 2019, the FBI called on investors of the BitConnect scheme to participate in a survey that will help the U.S. federal agency identify potential victims and possibly reach out to them for additional information that might help authorities crack the case.
Despite the enforcement action against BitConnect by regulators in Australia and elsewhere, similar digital currency schemes still continue to operate worldwide, catching vulnerable investors in their frauds.
See also: CoinGeek Live presentation, Digital Currency & Global Compliance: Tools & Tips for Exchanges, Wallets & Other Service Providers
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