Even if cryptocurrency investors do all the research and due diligence necessary before putting their money in the game, criminals can still corrupt the whole experience. That seems to be the case in Liguria, Italy, where police have recently arrested an alleged online fraudster for stealing $300,000 in gold and cryptocurrency.
Local news outlet LiguriaOggle.it reported on March 19 that authorities arrested the unnamed Genoa-based suspect who promised his victims their investments of fiat cash and gold would be used to purchase Bitcoin Core (BTC) in their name.
The arrests follow from one company complaining that it became obvious to them that the whole thing was a scam, as they had figured out the man was using false identities and borrowed company trademarks without authorization.
The suspect had created a website promoting himself as a stockbroker, and provided an address for customers to send him cash or solid gold, which he would then flip on the cryptocurrency market for their cryptocurrency. The address he provided was easily proved to be fraudulent, and he was arrested in a Sanremo hotel while in the act of collecting a delivery of gold.
Police were able to confiscate 2 kilograms of gold, worth €70,000 ($79,000), and 58 BTC, worth another €200,000 ($226,000), so hopefully some of the people scammed will receive their investment back.
The story follows just weeks after an Italian court ordered the crypto exchange BitGrail to return their customers funds. That exchange was plagued by a hack, draining it of over $180 million worth of Nano tokens and driving it towards bankruptcy.
Two more investment projects were suspended in 2018 by an Italian agency for precautionary reasons for offering fraudulent schemes that seemed a little too good to be true.
On the bright side, the Italian authorities are doing everything in their power to protect investors and stomp out fraudulent investment schemes, which is a great thing for the long term growth of the industry. For now though, Italian investors are going to have to be more careful about who they trust, because not everything you read on the internet is true.
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