In order to succeed in being an alleged Bitcoin criminal mastermind, you need to make sure that you put on a really good show. For Amit Bhardwaj, this included organizing extravagant parties and events for some of his scammed investors.
According to the Indian Express, November 2016 saw Bhardwaj invite some of these investors to a business event that was held in Dubai and Macau. An attendee, who chose to remain anonymous, recounted:
We were invited to attend the investors’ summit in Dubai and Macau. Tickets along with other documents were sent to us. When we started raising our voice for not getting the profit on our invested money in Bitcoin during the summits, Amit and his younger brother Aditya (sic) Bhardwaj assured us that our money would be returned but all in vain. Apart from India, people from China, Vietnam, Dubai, Mauritius and other countries were also present at these summits.
Millions lost through Bitcoin scam
After 16 investors failed to receive the returns that were promised to them, they approached the authorities who subsequently apprehended Bhardwaj, his brother Vivek, Pankaj Adhlakha and Hemant Bhope for the Bitcoin-based Ponzi scheme that cheated thousands of victims out of nearly $300 million through their GainBitcoin platform.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) for Cyber, Rashmi Yadav Sharma, explained the situation:
According to the statements of the 16 investors, they had purchased around 180 Bitcoins from Amit Bhardwaj. But there is a huge difference in the price of Bitcoins, purchased by the investors. One of the investors bought a Bitcoin at a cost of Rs 40,000 while the second investor purchased it at a cost of Rs 1 lakh. They were promised 10% return on the total investment for the next 18 months. A few of them had started receiving returns but it was only a bait assuring them that their money was safe. Accused Pankaj Adhlakha was a motivator speaker, who urged and motivated people to invest money in Bitcoin.
Extending a very short olive branch
Another source detailed how Amit Bhardwaj attempted to negotiate some sort of restitution process for two investors:
During interrogation, accused Amit Bhardwaj agreed to return the invested principal amount to two investors in the shape of Indian currency and refused to give them the amount equal to the value of Bitcoins at present. Currently, the price of one Bitcoin is around Rs 2.05 lakh. Earlier, the price of Bitcoin reached Rs 4 lakh.
In addition to extravagant events, Bhardwaj also spent his investors’ money on yachts and on hosting pricey parties, clearly living his best life before the clock struck midnight, or in his case, until he got arrested.
Do you think that any of the victims will get any compensation? Let us know in the comments below!
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