Indian police officers arrested in $300m crypto scam investigation

Arrested man by a police with indian flag and crypto coin bitcoin with scammer in the middle.

Eight persons, including four law enforcement officers, were arrested by India’s special investigation team (SIT) in connection to a massive crypto fraud scheme dating back to 2018.

Detainment of these individuals brought the total arrest tally to 18 as authorities continued to investigate a $300 million crypto scam that affected some 5,000 government employees and around 1,000 police staffers.

Mukesh Agnihotri, deputy chief minister of Indian state Himachal Pradesh, told the public to expect more arrests in connection to the illegal operation which raked in millions from victims spanning several years.

Multiple victims reportedly lodged 56 complaints with local police between 2021 and 2023 regarding a crypto scam revolving around Korvio Coin, a locally launched crypto token. Subhash Sharma, the prime suspect believed to have masterminded the scheme, and currently remains on the run.

Local police findings discovered over 300 suspects who profited somewhere between $120,000 and $240,000 each from the scam. Victims apparently fell prey to Sharma and his associates due to the involvement of female promoters and police personnel who convinced others to invest in Korvio coins.

The scam was initially discovered in September 2023 could date back five years, according to the SIT.

Scams are not uncommon in crypto despite the industry’s best efforts to propel itself as a legitimate digital ecosystem capable of powering the world’s financial system. In October 2023 alone, crypto scams cost victims around $32 million.

Canadians in Calgary also lost $22.5 million to scammers while mammoth crypto exchange Binance helped Thai authorities to freeze $277 million in illicit proceeds.

The biggest crypto scams to date remain OneCoin’s $25 billion operation, the $4 billion BitConnect scam and the Bitclub Network scheme where victims lost over $700 million.