18 May

An Australian man has admitted to participating in promoting cryptocurrency lending services for the now-defunct crypto exchange BitConnect, which gained notoriety as an alleged Ponzi scheme and ceased operations in 2018 amid accusations of defrauding victims of over $2.4 billion.

The Australian Securities and Exchange Commission (ASIC) stated on May 17 that John Louis Anthony Bigatton, known as Mr. Bigatton, provided financial product advice without holding an Australian Financial Services license or authorization to offer financial services regarding the lending platform.

According to ASIC, Bigatton, acting as BitConnect's national promoter, engaged in promotional activities, including providing financial advice at seminars and through social media posts across Australia.

BitConnect's lending platform, presented as an investment opportunity, encouraged investors to purchase BitConnect coin (BCC) through its website. Investors could loan BCC for a set period in exchange for substantial interest rates. However, they were unable to control their loans or withdraw their funds until the lending period concluded, allegedly facilitating the platform's operation as a Ponzi scheme.

BitConnect, established in February 2016, operated a platform and digital currency before its closure in January 2018, with its founders disappearing along with investors' funds.

In January 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ordered restitution of $17 million for the fraudulent scheme.

Victims of the BitConnect investment scam received some relief when a court ordered them to share in the $17 million restitution. However, the whereabouts of founder Satish Kumbhani remain unknown.

May 2024, Cryptoniteuae

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