Business

Derek Tonin

FBI seeks BitConnect victims’ help in their investigation

Cleaning up after a pyramid scheme collapses is always a messy, unpleasant business. The FBI is still in the process of investigating the alleged crypto scam called BitConnect, and they’ve put out feelers to get help from the people most interested in the end result: the victims.

On their official website, in the Victim Services section, the FBI said the following in a post:

“The FBI is seeking potential victims who invested in the cryptocurrency Bitconnect coin (BCC), which was first released through an initial coin offering orchestrated by Bitconnect in November 2016.”

The post then goes on to describe BCC, what BitConnect promised to investors, and the January 2018 crash that came when the allegedly Ponzi scheme nature of the service became apparent.

For investors who want to help the FBI with their investigation, the agency provides a voluntary questionnaire. Participating in the survey helps the FBI identify potential victims, and provides them the ability to reach out for additional information that might help them crack the case.

The crypto mania of December 2017 brought countless new investors into the market, many of them looking for a safer bet. BitConnect promised that, with 10% guaranteed returns, and incentives for bringing in additional investors. That’s been the playbook for most crypto scams, from Taiwan to India and beyond, and unfortunately, too many rookie investors got caught in the trap.

Because of the size and timeliness of the BitConnect scheme, it may require more investigation and arrests than others. In September 2018, the U.S. encouraged India to seize assets of BCC promoters in that country for potential money laundering.

John Bigatton, a BCC promoter, has also had his assets frozen by an Australian court in connection with his participation in promoting the service. That case has shown the uglier side of financial crimes, as Bigatton’s wife went missing nearly a year ago and is feared to have been murdered.

That’s the tragedy of a story like BitConnect. It not only caused billions in financial losses, but it also irreparably ruined lives.

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