GainBitcoin Scam: 3,85,000 Bitcoins were collected from over one lakh victims
An investigation into the GainBitcoin scam reveals that 3,85,000 Bitcoins were collected by Amit Bhardwaj and others involved in the scam through mining and various multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes. The total number of victims in the GainBitcoin scam stands at more than 1 Lakh.
Taking the current Bitcoin price of around INR 23,57,250 per Bitcoin, the total amount comes to around INR 90,500 Cr. These numbers do not include Ether, cash and MCAP tokens collected as part of the scam.
The main accused in the case, Bharadwaj passed away in January this year due to a cardiac arrest.
GainBitcoin had a pyramid structure, with Bhardwaj at the top and then his ‘Seven Stars’ who used to operate in India and abroad. The other persons were below the Seven Stars in the pyramid.
“As per the excel sheets recovered from one of the ‘Seven Stars’, we found a list of 80,000 user IDs who deposited their Bitcoin to that particular wallet,” an official said. As per him, over 86K Bitcoins were collected in his wallet.
Manu Sharma, Pankaj Adlakha, Amit Yadav, Sanjay Dua, late Surinder Singh Alagh, Naveen Pathak and Gautam Khanna were counted as the Seven Stars of the Ponzi scheme. Most of these Seven Stars have been absconding and have not appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) yet, according to sources.
Parvendra Singh Shahoo, a victim under the GainBitcoin scam recently handed over a letter to Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil demanding to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under Pune DCP Bhagyashree Navtake. According to him, the total number of Bitcoins collected by Amit Bhardwaj and others may be above 6 Lakh.
However, only 3,85,000 Bitcoins have been estimated to be the minimum number of bitcoins collected. As part of the investigation, 7 wallets have been traced that were sourced from various websites of Amit Bhardwaj, including GBminers and Bitcoin Growth Fund, which showed the collection of 2,25,839 Bitcoins.
There remain at least 6-7 wallets untraced, including the wallets of other Seven Star members that were used for collection purposes and hard wallets that were primarily used to hodl cryptocurrencies.
Bhardwaj was arrested in March 2018, and remained in Pune Police custody till he received bail from the Supreme Court in April 2019. Interestingly, bitcoins were being mined even when Bhardwaj was in jail.
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