Rs 500 Crore Cryptocurrency Scam Busted, Over 25,000 Cheated

The crime branch of Thane, a city in India, has busted an online multi-hundred crore cryptocurrency racket that operated for two years with the promise of good returns.

The prime accused Amit Lakhanpal floated a company The Flintstone Group, an alleged real estate company,  about a year ago and launched his own cryptocurrency called the 'Money Trade Coin (MTC).'

According to its promoters, Money Trade Coin (MTC) “provides a safer, more secure and superior alternative of storing wealth in the form of digital currency, to investors as well as commoners.”

Lakhanpal attracted investors by promising them higher returns, flats, and citizenship in African and Caribbean countries where they said that their cryptocurrency would be legal in a few years.

Around 25,000 people fell prey to the scam and invested around Rs 500 crore. But, when they didn't get any penny in return, they decided to contact the police.

“Pal and his associates promised investors a 20-times return on investment in a mere six months. But once the deadline passed, the company made several excused to not release the money,” the officer said.

 “A few days ago, some investors even went to Dubai to meet Lakhanpal, but they were allegedly threatened, and were told that they should not ask for their money. We also found that Lakhanpal had never constructed any building, even though he claimed to run a real estate company.”

After receiving the complaint, the crime branch raided two locations at Thane and Vikroli. The police seized 53 laptops, rubber stamps, fake identity cards belonging to the finance ministry, and fabricated credit and deposit certificates.

The crime branch has registered a case against the accused under several Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections for cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and relevant provisions of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act, the Chit Funds Act, and the Information Technology Act.