In a remarkable turn of events, law authorities in the Indian state of Odisha have successfully dismantled a crypto Ponzi scheme with an estimated value of $120 million (Rs 1000 crore). This achievement follows the arrest of two key individuals who were at the very core of this fraudulent operation that spanned across India.
Initiating the Investigation
The operation began with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the state police receiving information from various sources regarding a cryptocurrency-associated Ponzi scheme operating in Odisha. Promptly, the EOW launched an inquiry based on the intelligence gathered.
Central Role of Solar Techno Alliance (STA) Crypto Token
The investigation uncovered that the Solar Techno Alliance (STA) Crypto Token was at the heart of the Ponzi scheme. Collaborating with specific upline members, STA actively engaged with the community, using a range of persuasive tactics to lure individuals into the scheme. Promising quick profits, STA managed to attract over 10,000 participants from Odisha alone.
The arrest of Key Suspects
The state police have managed to apprehend the main culprits responsible for orchestrating this nationwide fraud. Gurtej Singh Sidhu, the leader of STA Token, and Nirod Das, the head of the Odisha unit, are now in police custody. The scheme’s victims span various Indian states, including Delhi, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan, highlighting the widespread nature of this deception.
EOW Odisha’s JN Pankaj commented, “Approximately 2 lakh people are members of this. The people were told to invest in crypto coins and gather more and more members. The people were assured that they will get a bonus and their money would be doubled and tripled.”
Unauthorized Operation and Deceptive Strategies
The investigation further revealed that STA lacked authorization from the Reserve Bank of India and other regulatory bodies to accumulate deposits. Operating under the guise of a crypto token venture, STA exploited concepts like green energy and solar technology to deceive its victims.
Elaborate Scheme Unveiled
STA was launched in September 2021 with an impressive website and a YouTube channel. Despite the mastermind’s efforts to constantly change locations, law enforcement successfully tracked these movements. The fraudulent network even organized lavish celebrations and bonuses for those involved.
Intricate Network and Names
The leadership hierarchy within the network boasted intricate names such as Pearl, Ruby, Emerald, and various types of Diamonds, reflecting their position and STA coin holdings.
Interestingly, the investigation unveiled that the STA website was hosted in Iceland, yet its operations were concentrated solely within India.
The successful dismantling of this $120 million crypto Ponzi scheme serves as a significant victory for Indian law enforcement. This event underscores the necessity of robust regulatory measures and public awareness in the ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrency.