KOCHI: Kerala is staring at yet another multi-crore cryptocurrency scam. The police and intelligence agencies have unearthed details of a few suspects who duped people of crores of rupees by promising high returns on cryptocurrency investment.
The suspects routed the collected amount allegedly through the accounts of Kochi-based companies, ‘Richferryman’ and ‘DealFX’.
The fraud came to light when an investor, who lost nearly Rs 25 lakh, approached the Perumbavoor police with a complaint.
Following a preliminary probe, the police registered a case against K K Vinod, 53, of Mudavoor, Muvattupuzha.
The police found the accused and his accomplices held meetings at various places across the state to attract investors and convince them about the huge returns.
“Many attended these get-togethers and invested lakhs. The preliminary details show the accused had duped many people in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts. We are verifying the total amount collected by the accused which may come to around Rs 50 crore,” said an intelligence officer.
Police officers said many people even gave gold ornaments to the accused.
“I met Vinod through a common friend who has been working as an engineer abroad. Vinod convinced me that his company was trading in cryptocurrencies and ensured that the risk exposure will be minimum if I invested money in their company. They promised huge returns in the first few months itself. But nothing happened,” said Senthil Kumar, a victim, who lost Rs 25 lakh.
“We are collecting the details of the company ‘Richferryman’ as the accused registered the firm in September 2021. Currently, K K Vinod and Reji Vinod are the directors of the company,” the officer said. Though Vinod attempted to secure anticipatory bail stating he was falsely implicated in the case, the sessions court dismissed it, he added.
As per the probereport, Vinod, apart from collecting Rs 5.39 lakh in cash from the complainant, also took 404 grams of gold ornaments worth Rs 19.5 lakh on November 4 and 9, 2021.
THE ‘MORRIS COIN’ SCAM
In 2020, a Malappuram native, Nishad K, pulled off a major cryptocurrency fraud by setting up a website called morriscoin.com.
He duped around I1,200 crore from thousands of people, including non-resident Keralites, promising high returns on investment in a non-existent cryptocurrency called ‘Morris Coin’.
The enforcement directorate, which probed the fraud and attached the assets of Nishad and his conduits, found the fund was invested in real estate and other projects.
In November 2021, the police arrested seven people, who operated as his conduits in collecting deposits.