An investigative unit of South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), often referred to as ‘the Hawks,’ is reportedly pursuing a massive cryptocurrency investment fraud in the country.
According to a police statement released on May 25, over 28,000 investors could be victims of the scam, with cumulative losses likely exceeding 1 billion rand ($80.4 million).
BTCGlobal, the company behind the scam allured investors with agents promising returns of 2% per day, 14% per week and ultimately 50% per month. The site had several red flags that should have alerted investors, including a lucrative 4% referral program. SEO Spark had a story last year which claimed that BTC Global was an illicit Ponzi scheme.
No Major Advancements in the Case
There have not been any breakthroughs in the case so far. Acting National Head of the DPCI Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata has encouraged members of the public who have invested in the scheme to come forward.
BTCGlobal’s website has been replaced with a letter that claims the person behind the abrupt suspension of payments is Steven Twain, who controlled all of the finances and apparently bailed without telling anyone else on the team. According to the BTCGlobal team, “Until Steven Twain resurfaces or is found there is nothing the admin team can do.”
Here’s the full explanation from BTCGlobal:
Payment info was sent to Steven Twain on Sunday 18 February 2018 as has been done by the admin team each week since last year.
Steven did not acknowledge receipt of the information.
Steven has not contacted anyone in leadership or admin team.
No payments have been made by Steven.
The admin team cannot locate him. If anyone has ANY information on how we can get in contact with him please get in touch and let us know.
We call for the threats, harassment and violence on leaders and admin to stop. It is unfathomable that people can behave like this. If you feel you’ve had a crime committed against you, you need to follow the legal procedures to deal with the matter.
We are as shocked and angry as everyone. But we all knew the risks involved in placing funds with Steven.
We all became complacent with Steven. And all of us funded him independently.
Until Steven Twain resurfaces or is found there is nothing the admin team can do.
The only contact details the admin team had for Steven were as follows:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/steven.twain.319 (profile now removed)
Not a Good Week for Crypto in South Africa
Lieutenant General Matakata also warned the public about investing in high-risk crypto investment schemes and suggested that the BTCGlobal scam could be larger than initially thought.
“This may prove to be the tip of the iceberg with potentially thousands more yet to discover they’ve lost money. These is a timely reminder that unregulated, unusual investments at home or abroad come with a high risk that people could lose all their hard-earned pension and other saving.”
Meanwhile, another news story broke in South Africa which put cryptocurrencies in a negative light. A 13-year-old boy was kidnapped in South Africa and a ransom of 15 bitcoins was demanded.