South African police are investigating an alleged cryptocurrency investment scam that has affected over 28,000 investors with losses exceeding 1 billion rand ($80 million).
A press release from the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) published on May 25 reveals that the Hawks, an investigative unit of South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), are investigating Bitcaw Trading Company, commonly known as BTC Global, in connection with the alleged Ponzi scheme.
According to the press release, BTC Global promised investors returns of 2% interest per day, 14% per week and ultimately 50% per month.” Like many traditional Ponzi schemes, regular payments were allegedly being made in the beginning. Some of the investors got paid what they were promised, but the payments “suddenly stopped.”
In a statement to Bloomberg about the case, Bitcaw Trading founder Andrew Caw said that “BitCaw Trading was not involved in the BTC Global scam and we are shocked to see our name connected with it.” According to Caw, BitCaw Trading “assists people with buying & selling Bitcoin as well as other Bitcoin related services” but does “not manage third-party money or offer any kind of investment.” Caw further said that BitCaw didn’t set up BTC Global.
BTC Global’s services have since been suspended, as indicated in a statement on the company’s website, which blames the alleged scam on a former employee named Steven Twain. According to the website statement, Twain received payment information on February 18, 2018, as he did every week, before disappearing.
“We are as shocked and angry as everyone,” the BTC Global team said in the statement, adding that “Steven has not contacted anyone from the admin team” and that “until Steven Twain resurfaces or is found there is nothing the admin team can do.”
The statement advises investors that “if you feel you’ve had a crime committed against you, you need to follow legal procedure to deal with the matter.” South African police urged “anyone with information that may assist the investigation” to get in contact.