Business 12 April 2018Dennis Wafula
Couple behind $17M BTC investment scam in the Philippines arrested
Philippine authorities arrested a couple accused of using the popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to scam dozens of would-be investors in the country, local media outlets reported.
The couple, Arnel and Leonay Ordonio, allegedly scammed 50 people into investing in SegWit-Coin BTC (otherwise known as Bitcoin Legacy or Core) in 2017. Police said the Ordonios convinced their victims to invest in a company called “NewG,” promising a 30% return on their investments every 15 days. The couple amassed an estimated PHP900 million (US$17 million) from this scheme, according to police officials.
One of the victims said she had a hunch that she was being scammed when the couple started posting on social media that they will be unable to pay their investors. Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa told reporters the value invested in the company could rise as more victims are expected to come out of the woodwork.
The PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group has filed fraud charges against the couple, although authorities are considering upgrading Ordonios’ case to economic sabotage.
Cases of pyramid schemes continue to grow in the country with many people falling into these traps.The proprietors of the scheme gave investors an opportunity to create an “upline system”that promised huge returns.In these cases, investors were required to bring in other people in order to create ‘down lines’ and, in the process, increase their commission.
Countries like India, China, Japan, Australia among others have their own share of these fraudulent activities. Despite the efforts taken by authorities to curb these criminal activities, many investors end up losing their hard-earned money. From using celebrities photos to creating lucrative upline systems, criminals are working hard to earn from the cryptocurrency market.
However, efforts by the authorities around to have cryptocurrency regulated are not in vain. Unlike before,people are better informed on cryptocurrency and other blockchain-related activities and there are clearer regulations governing cryptocurrencies around the world, making it easier to bring scammers like the Ordonios to justice.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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