Business

Derek Tonin

New Zealand church under fire for allegedly helping OneCoin scam

Cryptocurrency scams can have no limits for what types of communities they affect. OneCoin, a project which has already been called out for the scam that it is in multiple countries, has now been linked to a New Zealand church, but they deny all involvement in the scheme.

The Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (SISDAC) in New Zealand was linked to the OneCoin Ponzi scheme by a police report, and then specifically called out by Samoa’s Central bank, reports RadioNz. In their investigation, they found that hundreds of Samoans were scammed out of their money, and three in particular had lost NZ$28,000 (US$18,500).

“It makes you happy and believe that this is a future for the family,” said one woman, talking about the hopes and dreams their investment gave them. “We don’t believe anything anymore.”

Another victim told the outlet, “I really want to just put it to a stop, just to the people that have been affected.”

SISDAC was tied to the scam because a OneCoin employee used the church “to reach a vast network of would-be investors.” New Zealand authorities specifically accused the church of participating in the scam. OneCoin was banned in Samoa in 2018, and much of the investment seen around SISDAC came after the ban went into place.

SISFAC has fired back, publishing a letter on their Facebook page, denying that they knowingly participated in the Ponzi scheme. They denied any participating in the scam, writing:

“SISDAC has never knowingly participated or colluded in any way shape or form with any individual or organisation in this type of illegal activity.”

Not happy to just deny the accusation, SISDAC is also exploring legal action against the Samoan government for defamation.

OneCoin investigations are happening around the world. Two were charged in Singapore in April for promoting the scam, and four more were charged in China in May last year. The leaders of the scheme have been charged in the United States for starting the Ponzi scheme. It’s estimated that the operation roped in more than 3 million members by the time the crackdown started getting serious.

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