Investors in a South African digital currency company fear that the founder may have fled the country. The South African police are investigating the man, but according to local reports, he most likely fled to neighboring Mozambique.
Willie Breedt is the founder of VaultAge Solutions, a startup he launched in 2018. He allegedly lured investors with promises of weekly returns on their investments, with the investments starting at $50. He claimed to invest in digital currency mining and trading. According to local outlet News24, the startup had over 2,000 investors.
It had all been smooth-sailing for the investors up until late 2019 when the payments stopped. They pursued Breedt to demand for their money and he promised to pay them back. The last time they were able to contact him was December 2019, according to the report.
The country’s Department of Home Affairs has revealed that he left South Africa for Mozambique on December 21, 2019. This left many investors feeling dejected as their hopes of recovering their money fades by the day.
VaultAge is alleged to have raised millions of dollars from the investors in its two years of existence. One investor told News24 that he had invested 6 million rand ($348,000). Others claimed to have invested their pension, with one investor claiming:
“We are pensioners and invested R200 000 ($11,580). From December until April, we received payments on the growth of our investment. Since then, we never got any money. We are desperate and living on a shoestring budget.”
Despite raising millions in investment, VaultAge wasn’t registered with the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA). Its founder has also given halfhearted feedback to investors who have reached out to him.
In a reply to News24, he stated, “I am busy attending to the commitments I have made to members. The commitment is to have all the initial capital paid back by 31 May.”
However, he refused to comment on his alleged trip to Mozambique or reveal his current whereabouts.
South Africa is no stranger to digital currency scams. In 2019, a company known as Bitcoin Wallet shut down its offices and revealed that it had no money to refund its investors. In its prime, the company had been bringing in $142,000 per day in investment.
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