U.S. prosecutors have indicted two Nigerian nationals for purportedly running a bitcoin venture that was fraudulent. Two Nigerian nationals stand accused over bitcoin investment scam.
It was announced on Wednesday that the Oregon District Attorney’s Office declared that the accused, Onwuemerie Ogor Gift and Kelvin Usifoh, have been charged with money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud as well as 11 checks of wire fraud.
Gift and Usifoh promised investors 20–50 percent risk-free returns with instant withdrawals from December 2017 to June 2018.
They are said to have used the following 3 websites to promote their fraudulent bitcoin investment scheme:
The Gift and Usifoh falsely claimed that one can invest the bitcoins “unique trading methods”. Also, the victims’ will have a “constant high-interest rate.” They allegedly encouraged the investors to transfer their bitcoin to Gift and Usifoh’s own cryptocurrency wallets. As soon as the transfer went through, the pair exchanged the cryptocurrency for the Nigerian naira, their local currency.
According to the indictment, the defendants stole 10.88 bitcoins (worth approximately $56,391 at press time) in over six months. Gift and Usifoh stole from three victims, two from California, and one residing in Oregon, by promoting their scheme by using a photo of a fourth victim.
Altogether, the examiners claim that through the scam Gift and Usifoh got more than 50 bitcoins ($259,000).
Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular as scam vehicles, predominantly due to their pseudonymous, online nature. Fortunately, law officials are catching up.
New York prosecutors charged a man in a nine-count indictment last month. This is for tricking investors out of over $200,000 in cryptocurrency and cash. In addition, the New York Supreme Court charged a 20-year-old man in February for crypto theft and SIM-swapping identity.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued a joint alert earlier this week to warn cryptocurrency investors about such scams. They said that claims such as “risk-free”, “absolutely safe” are indicative of fraud.