Giza ICO Scammers Make Off with $2 Million
Scammers steal $2 million by conducting allegedly fake Giza ICO, before dropping off the radar and leaving investors in the lurch.
An initial coin offering (ICO) for a startup called Giza has turned out to be fake, as the scammers behind the scheme appear to have made off with the funds (amounting to more than $2 million in crypto) and ditched their investors.
The Giza ICO was launched in January this year, with the startup claiming that they were developing a super-secure device to store cryptocurrencies, and a shadowy individual called Marco Fike purporting to be the COO of Giza.
The ICO raised around $2.4 million in Eth (more than 2,100 coins), but set alarm bells ringing when Russian firm Third Pin LLC, which had been contracted by Giza to develop the crypto storage devices, announced at the end of January that they were halting manufacture and cutting ties with Giza since they had not received any payment.
Speaking to CNBC, Ivan Larionov, Third Pin CEO, said that when he told Fike he had to raise the initial quote for manufacturing the device from $1 million to $1.5 million, “at that moment he [Fike] said no, no way.”
In addition to the obvious warning sign of Third Pin’s announcement, eight investors also told CNBC that there was little to no communication from the project team, and no one had actually met Fike. His LinkedIn profile has since been revealed to be fake – Fike states on his profile that he attended Oxford University (Oxford is currently investigating the claim), and although he claims to have been employed by Microsoft in the past, the company has confirmed that he never worked for them.
In addition, employees revealed that they had never spoken to Fike face-to-face – they had no idea who he was or what he looked like, and he stopped contacting them after January. The Giza website has also since been deleted.
As of now, details remain unclear; however, one investor (who wishes to remain anonymous) sent CNBC a money trail of the funds in the Giza wallet, which appear to have been gradually drained over the course of a fortnight, and transferred to multiple other wallets.