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FBI looking for investors who lost money in cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme

Posted at 12:37 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 18:28:36-05

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The FBI is investigating a cryptocurrency Ponzi-like scheme involving Bitconnect Coin that caused investors to lose billions when the currency shut down in January 2018.

According to the FBI, Bitconnect coin was established in 2016 and used Bitconnect as the sole means to buy, trade and sell the cryptocurrency. A year after the initial coin offering, the cryptocurrency was valued at more than $2.5 billion.

Authorities said Bitconnect “guaranteed investors up to a 10 percent total return per month on their investment, following a tiered investment system based on the sum of an investor’s initial deposit."

By January 2018, the Bitconnect Coin market crashed. Warning letters were issued by state-level securities regulators due to the “Ponzi-type nature” of the cryptocurrency. Bitconnect shut down the exchange system shortly after, which left individuals who had invested in the cryptocurrency with a “near-worthless” cryptocurrency, authorities said.

Because of the nature of cryptocurrency, authorities investigating the case have had difficulty reaching investors who became victims in the scheme. In total, the FBI said investors lost a combined total ranging from $2.5 to 3.5 billion.

Anyone who invested in Bitconnect coin is asked to assist the FBI by completing this survey.

The FBI released the following statement regarding the survey:

"If you invested in Bitconnect, please complete the below questionnaire. Your responses are voluntary but would be useful in the federal assessment of this matter and to identify you as a BCC investor and/or potential victim. Based on the responses provided, you may be contacted by the FBI and asked to provide additional information."