Three Bengaluru-based firms under police scanner in Kerala

The firms headed by a Malappuram man collected at least D15K each from 11 lakh people to invest in a new cryptocurrency
Three Bengaluru-based firms under police scanner in Kerala

MALAPPURAM: Malappuram police have launched an investigation into three Bengaluru-based companies - Long Reach Global, Long Reach Technologies and Morris Trading Solutions - in connection with a multi-crore money chain scam. According to the police, these companies collected at least Rs 15,000 each from over 11 lakh people from across the country to invest in a new cryptocurrency called Morris coin. 

The police have registered a case against Nishad K, 36, of Pookkottumpadam in Malappuram, who is named the chief executive officer of the three entities. His house was raided recently. Police said scamsters lured people in to invest a minimum of Rs 15,000 each and offered mouth-watering returns like Rs 270 per day for next 300 days, once they put their money in cryptocurrency. ‘Investors’ were also offered 10 Morris coins after the 300-day lock-in period. They said Morris coin has not yet been listed on exchanges.

Police said the companies even offered 10 to 40 per cent commission to investors to get more people to invest in Morris Coin. Financial experts said the companies were running a Ponzi scheme, roping in more investors to add to the chain, and was using the newfound interest in cryptocurrencies as mirage to attract more gullible people. 

“We have taken a suo motu case against Nishad under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978. We launched an investigation into the case based on a tip off received by District Police Chief Abdul Karim. We recently raided Nishad’s house and have seized documents related to his financial dealings. We are looking into the documents and we have taken statements from some of his ‘clients’ in the area. Nishad will soon be quizzed in the case,” said Vishnu P, Circle Inspector, Pookkottumpadam.

Interestingly, police have so far not received any complaint from Nishad’s clients. “We have not received any complaint. We think he has gained their confidence by paying 0.5 to 3 per cent interest on their investment every day for a certain period of time. But even without a complaint, action will be taken against the company owners for running a money chain business,” Vishnu said. Initial investigation revealed that Nishad told his investors that the business was legal. However, Morris Coin’s website shares no information about team members or developers of the cryptocurrency. 

A murderous tale
In 2019, Malappuram native Shukoor, 24, was killed by 10 of his business partners in Dehradun over a dispute over Bitcoin business. Shukoor had collected several crores of rupees from people to invest in Bitcoin. Though he provided dividends to his clients initially, his business suffered losses when Bitcoin’s value came down and he failed to provide return to his investors. Following this, Shukoor and his 10 teammates fled to Dehradun. His teammates killed Shukoor to get the remaining investment in Bitcoin business. Dehradun police later arrested the culprits. 

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