After perpetuating one of the largest fraudulent projects in the crypto industry, the core team behind the popular PlusToken crypto scam has finally been arrested by the Chinese police, a Thursday report revealed.
27 PlusToken Key Members Arrested
Although earlier reports suggest that some of the PlusToken officials were caught months ago, today’s report notes that the 27 individuals arrested were the core members of the fraudulent scheme, bringing the saga to an end.
Chinese law enforcement has been investigating the project since it shut down last year. The search for the fraudsters lasted for 12 months because the key members of the scheme were located in different parts of the world.
Per the report, the special task force that conducted the operation visited countries including Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, among others, and cooperated with the law enforcement in the regions to apprehend the 27 suspects. The police also arrested 82 other members associated with the scheme, the report said.
Biggest Scam In Crypto
PlusToken was a pyramid scheme that surfaced in May 2018, describing itself as a crypto wallet provider and investment program that pays investors high returns between 9% and 10% month. But in reality, it was nothing but a pyramid scheme similar to popular crypto scam BitConnect and OneCoin.
With most of its users from Korea and China, PlusToken shut down its operation in 2019, stealing billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies from about 2 million people, consisting of local and international investors.
Previous reports from analytics companies like Chainalysis estimated a total loss of $3 billion to the scheme. However, police report today revealed that victims lost about $5.8 billion, making PlusToken the largest crypto scam to date.
Since their exit, the scammers have been moving the stolen funds in batches between unknown wallets while also laundering some through their personal wallets and OTC trades.
Last month, they moved over $240 million worth of cryptocurrencies in Ethereum and EOS from PlusToken official wallets to unknown wallets. In addition to that, Chainalysis has tracked over 800,000 ETH and 45,000 BTC being transferred to the scammers’ personal wallet addresses.
A Welcome Development
The arrest of PlusToken’s core team is a welcome development for the crypto industry. Hopefully, the same effort will be directed towards bringing down the founders of other fraudulent schemes like OneCoin that stole $4 billion from investors.
Although CryptoPotato reported that the brother of the founder of OneCoin was apprehended and risks facing up to 90 years in prison for money laundering and fraud charges, Ruja Ignatova, the founder of the scheme, is still at large and nowhere to be found.