The Indian authorities seized properties worth $60 million in connection to the investigation of the Gainbitcoin.com scam. The Indian Directorate of Enforcement (ED) seized six offices in Dubai and the residential apartments and bank accounts belonging to the associates in Gainbitcoin.com, Hemant Bhope and Pankaj Adlakha, CCN reported.
The scheme targeted Indian investors directly by presenting a fake mining facility. Estimates see around 8,000 people scammed. The scheme unraveled in December 2017, days before Bitconnect also saw its crash following the slide in BTC market prices.
The investment scheme used a similar model, inviting investments in BTC, while returning games in a worthless token, MCAP. The coin was suspicious already in the fall of 2017:
The investigation and arrests around the Gainbitcoin.com scheme started in May, with the seizing of properties the last step.
India has been the scene of several large Bitcoin scams, most notably the Bitconnect scheme, which turned out to have its originators in India. The interest in Bitcoin was sparked by the de-monetization of the Indian economy, to avoid grey economy payments.
Unfortunately, newcomers to crypto assets found no difference between Bitcoin and the scam assets. The scheme was advertised in hotel gatherings, targeting people who had no idea about cryptocurrencies and how they worked.
In the case of the Gainbitcoin.com scheme, the promise of gains was linked to mining, promising rewards much higher than the potential gains of mining. Unfortunately, similar schemes are still distributed on Twitter:
During the investigation, Bhardwaj claimed he could return the funds to victims, as reported by the Indian Express. However, investigators pointed out that the servers containing the databases of transactions could not be recovered from the three firms servicing the Gainbitcoin.com scam.