Odisha: Two held for Rs 15 crore cryptocurrency investment fraud

Bhubaneswar, April 16 (IANS) The Odisha Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has arrested two “fraudsters” for duping several investors in Odisha and Maharashtra on the pretext of high returns through investments in cryptocurrency, an official said on Monday.

According to police, EOW sleuths arrested the prime accused, Ved Prakash, from Anupgarh in Rajasthan on April 10 while the Odisha head of the racket, Sudhir Patel, was held from Sundargarh in Odisha on April 14.

“Accused Ved Prakash was formerly working as a Constable in Rajasthan Police and was terminated after five years of service for his misconduct and dereliction of duty,” added the official.

The duo was apprehended in connection with a fraud case registered based on a complaint lodged by Prem Sagar Khamari, one of the victims who lost more than Rs 48 lakhs to the fraud. Khamari reportedly received a meagre Rs 20,000 against his investment in the fraud crypto scheme.

Khamari alleged in his complaint that the accused persons duped several investors, especially in western Odisha, of more than Rs 14 crore by inducing them to invest in different crypto schemes through agencies like ENG Crypto, Entice Capital, USDT Club, ADS Exchange, and CRIT 11, among others. The accused neither invested in cryptocurrency nor returned the money of the victims.

“The accused persons along with their associates held many promotional programmes in different parts of Odisha in 2022. They lured the victims — most of them are computer illiterates, through fake brochures, and leaflets to invest in the cryptocurrency to get high returns and even double the invested amount within a very short period. They also asked the targets to include more investors in lieu of some additional benefits,” EOW sources said.

The fraudsters used to pay the up-line members the promised returns from the amount collected from the downline members.

The EOW ascertained during the due course of the investigation that the duo had duped around 500 investors from different parts of Puri, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh and Bargarh of Odisha of more than Rs 15 crore. The accused also dumped several gullible persons in Maharashtra.

EOW sources claimed that the Maharashtra Police will also be alerted about the scam and the fraudsters.

The duo was on Monday produced before the designated court under the OPID Act, Cuttack.



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