It was first heard in metros and big cities. Now, the fraud of collecting money from people assuring them of making quick bucks by investing the same in hedge funds or crypto-currencies and disappearing later, seems to be spreading to towns like Godavarikhani.

Sleuths of Ramagundam Police Commissionerate are on the lookout for some key persons who have collected huge sums from individuals in the name of ‘bitcoin business’.

One of the complainants who approached Ramagundam police said some local persons lured them to invest in a business that has “high returns in short time”. “They told me that bitcoins are the latest investment havens,” the complainant was quoted as saying.

“The truth is that the investor doesn’t know anything about crypto-currencies or bitcoins. These fraudsters convince people that it’s an opportunity not to be missed and collect money,” the investigators said. To impress the prospective investors, they use different names like gold coin scheme, bitcoin scheme and offshore funds scheme.

Four months ago, the Delhi police arrested two persons for duping several people in a similar fashion. However, the accused – Ashish Malik and Sandeep Kaushik – allegedly used the name of RHF (Rosnet Hedge Fund) claiming that it was a subsidiary of Russia-based oil firm.

They later claimed that they had created a crypto-currency called RHF coin and lured individuals to invest money in their hedge funds or RHF coin.

The Ramagundam police are not sure if the persons who disappeared after collecting money from people in Godavarikhani and surrounding areas have any connection with the accused in the Delhi case.

“It is similar to money circulation scheme. The only difference is that the cheats are using the name of virtual currency here,” the investigators said.

Akin to multi-level marketing, the gang asks an investor to introduce three or more persons to join the scheme so that his profits multiple.

Sources said the tricksters in Godavarikhani settled the dispute with some members of their scheme by returning the money. However, others approached the police. One of the persons wanted by the Ramagundam police for questioning surfaced in Hyderabad and has consulted lawyers to secure anticipatory bail.


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