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$4.2B in crypto including BTC, ETH, LTC, and EOS seized by Chinese authorities from Ponzi scheme

Chinese authorities recovered various cryptocurrencies worth more than $4.2 billion from the TokenPlus Ponzi scheme operators.

Image by WorldSpectrum from Pixabay

Sat, 28 Nov 2020, 13:17 pm UTC

Billions of dollars in cryptocurrency were seized by Chinese law enforcers from the operators of the PlusToken Ponzi scheme. The seized crypto assets included Bitcoin(BTC), Ether(ETH), Litecoin(LTC), and EOS.

Chinese police confiscated crypto assets from seven individuals involved in the Plustoken Ponzi scam, Cointelegraph reported. The cryptocurrencies are valued at more than $4.2 billion in total based on prevailing market rates.

Police seized 194,775 bitcoin (BTC), 833,083 ether (ETH), 1.4 million litecoin (LTC), and 27.6 million EOS based on a court ruling made public on November 26, according to . The other cryptocurrencies confiscated by authorities include 79,581 bitcoin cash (BCH), 487 million ripple (XRP), 213,721 tether (USDT), 74,167 DASH, and 6 billion DOGE.

The Yancheng Intermediate People’s Court ruling stated that gains from the confiscated digital currencies will be forfeited to the national treasury. However, reports did not give details on how this process will be undertaken.

In July, authorities arrested 109 individuals were arrested due to their involvement with the Plustoken Ponzi scheme. Reports say that 27 of those arrested were believed to be masterminds while 82 were key members of the group.

The PlusToken scheme claimed to be a South Korean crypto exchange and wallet provider that offered between 8% and 16% monthly returns on interest-bearing accounts. The operators required $500 in cryptocurrency as a minimum deposit.

The scheme became popular and attracted over 2 million members between May 2018 and June 2019. During the span of its operation, the scam raked in 314,000 BTC, 9 million ETH, 117,450 BCH, 1.84 million LTC, 928 million XRP, 51 million EOS, 96,123 DAH, and 11 billion DOGE.

At that time, the total cryptocurrencies the group scammed from its victims were estimated to be worth 14.8 billion yuan or roughly $2.2 billion. But with the current crypto prices, that value would be much higher today.

The group ceased its operations in June 2019 and used “system maintenance” as their explanation, which is a typical exit strategy among scammers. The police convicted 15 people who were sentenced to between two and 11 years of jail time as well as fines between $100,000 and $1,000,000.

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