- $300 million worth of crypto has been stolen from around 100,000 people, including 5,000 government officials and 1,000 police personnel in India.
- The scammers created fake websites with inflated KRO prices, claiming that this cryptocurrency was backed by gold and several other assets.
- They also created several other cryptos, such as one they called “DGT Coin” to reel more investors in.
- The scam ring employed tactics such as changing their phone numbers and location frequently, and using several bank accounts to avoid detection and arrest.
- The law eventually caught up to the scammers when independent MLA Hoshyar Singh raised the issue in the Himachal Pradesh assembly.
India, like any other populous country on the planet, is no stranger to scams.
Add a bit of crypto and web3 to the mix, and we have ourselves a real disaster.
According to recent reports, one of the latest uncovered scams involved a local crypto called Korvio Coin.
As far as scams go, the size and audacity of this one have shocked the entire country. So far, $300 million (2500 crore Indian rupees) has been stolen, from around 100,000 people, including 5,000 government officials and 1,000 police personnel.
Just like any other crypto scam or rug pull, these individuals were reeled in by promises of massive profits, made from manipulated prices.
According to local media reports, 18 people have been arrested so far by the Indian authorities, including four police officers.
Here are all the details:
How the Crypto Scam Worked
This crypto scam has far-reaching roots, leading as far back as 2018.
However, the scammers continued their activities for five more years and were only just tracked down and uncovered sometime in late September this year.
Back in 2018, the major suspects of this massive scam, Subhash Sharma, Sukhdev Thakur, Hemraj Thakur, and others, launched a fake crypto called Korvio Coin (better known as KRO coins).
These scammers asked the initial buyers to pay an “activation fee”, which they could use to rake in even more massive returns.
Sharma and the others also created fake websites with inflated KRO prices, claiming that this cryptocurrency was backed by gold and several other assets.
Right after going through all this trouble, they also introduced several other cryptos, such as one they called “DGT Coin” to reel more investors in.
The scam was so massive that the entire ring had agents, promoters and other staff (some of which were police officers), to spread the word and and bring in more victims.
The scam ring looked legitimate because aside from the promoters and agents shilling KRO, DGT Coin and several others, leading to a hundred thousand people jumping in and unwittingly contributing their hard-earned money to the $300 million pool.
To avoid detection and arrest, Sharma and the rest employed tactics such as changing their phone numbers and location frequently, and using several bank accounts.
Besides lying to investors, they were also able to manipulate the prices of KRO and DGT using high-end software to create artificial demand and supply.
But How Were They Caught?
The law eventually caught up to the scammers when independent MLA Hoshyar Singh raised the issue in the Himachal Pradesh assembly.
Singh alleged that thousands of people, including government officials and police personnel, were either working with or had been scammed by the fraudsters.
Other than this, over the last two years, police stations have received about 56 complaints.
These complaints led to a comprehensive investigation headed by the SIT, along with the Enforcement Directorate and local police units.
Throughout the investigation, about 250,000 ID cards connected to suspects were found during dozens of searches in late October.
Out of the general $300 million, more than 100 people made about $240,000 or more each, while another 200 made about $120,000.
Singh also estimated in his complaint, that the scam was worth around $20 million (150 crore Indian rupees) at the time.
Little did he know.
Throughout the SIT’s raids, the agency seized several documents, laptops, mobile phones, and other evidence. They also reportedly identified and arrested around 18 suspects, including four police officers.
However, despite these arrests, the alleged mastermind of the entire ploy, Subhash Sharma, remains at large.
The Enforcement Directorate is also reported to be investigating the role of five women, who are suspected of having worked as agents or promoters for Sharma.
According to a separate report, two of the women are residents of Hamirpur, while one comes from Solan and another from Zirakpur town in Punjab’s Mohali district.
One of these women has already been arrested, taking the total number of arrested individuals in the case to 10.
Disclaimer: Voice of Crypto aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, but it will not be responsible for any missing facts or inaccurate information. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile financial assets, so research and make your own financial decisions.