Indian crypto scam defrauds $259,000 from 12 investors

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a new cryptocurrency scam pops up to show you there’s more.

This time, it’s in India’s financial capital Mumbai. Police in the city have booked a local entrepreneur for defrauding 12 investors of ₹1.72 crore ($259,000 USD). The accused used cryptos to lure the victims into their plot.

According to a report by a local publication, The Hindu, the victims invested in the scam as far back as October 2017. However, they only reported the crime last Thursday after it became clear that the entrepreneur had conned them. 

The lead plaintiff is Nanasaheb Patil, an agricultural officer working in Mumbai. Patil met the accused entrepreneur, Pritam in October 2017. Pritam convinced Patil to invest in KBC Coin, a crypto token that was apparently valued at $0.0056 at the time. Pritam assured Patil that by March 2018, the KBC Coin would have appreciated to $1, a 17,700 percent appreciation. 

Patil was so excited at the prospect of such incredible gains that he introduced Pritam to his 11 employees. They were all converted to the gospel of KBC Coin and they all invested. The crypto is reportedly named after Kaun Banega Crorepati, a popular Indian television game show.

According to Patil, the employees were a bit concerned about the legitimacy of the investment. They therefore asked Pritam to provide the company documents. Pritam managed to convince them that in such investments, the company’s website is all the proof they need. As if that red flag wasn’t enough, Pritam asked that they do all the transactions only in cash.

It was only after they paid out the money that they began to notice some discrepancies. For one, the company changed its name from KBC Coin to AFC Mint Coin. Apparently, this was because another company was also using the name for a scam. In September 2018, the company’s website shut down. 

This alarmed the investors and they contacted the company immediately. A representative told them that the company had shut down and would not be receiving any more money from investors.

A spokesperson for the DCP Crime Branch confirmed the incident.

The 12 investors aren’t the first to be duped using cryptos in the city of Mumbai, India’s largest city. In June last year, police unearthed a mega scam in which investors lost $75 million. A police officer was among the suspects, with some of the scam company’s executives fleeing the country.

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