Authorities from France and Belgium have confirmed the arrest of ten people over a crypto scam ran in Israel. The scammers are believed to have duped investors over $6.6 million in cryptocurrencies. The alleged criminals are said to have attracted around 85 people from France, Belgium, and Israel.
Crypto Scams A Nuisance To The Ecosystem
Crypto scams have remained a nuisance since cryptocurrencies went mainstream a few years ago. The presence of scammers has over the years deterred investors from investing in projects. One of the most recent and prominent ones is OneCoin. The Ponzi scheme leaders made away with billions from investors.
The Israeli scheme like most schemes used the promise of outrageous profits to lure in investors. With a promise of up to 35% returns, the money flooded in. In a classical way, users who joined the scheme early on were paid with newer users’ money. This effort was used to make the scheme look legit, pulling in more users and more money.
According to Europol and Eurojust, the scammers asked investors to send their money to fake companies from where they would withdraw it through accounts set up in Turkey and Asian countries.
The three countries have taken different approaches to cryptocurrencies. In France, it is legal to trade cryptocurrencies. Its financial watchdog, however, has a strict regulatory framework that must be followed. This has helped both the government, investors and crypto-related companies better operate in the country.
Belgium has not taken a stance on cryptocurrencies, making it neither legal or illegal. The country, like many in Europe, awaits direction from the EU. Despite its stance, the Belgian government has over the last couple of years curbed fraud and crypto-related scams in the country.
In Israel, cryptocurrencies are considered financial assets. Just like in France, Israel also expects those involved in the industry to follow rules and regulations as stipulated.
Back in 2018, just after the Belgian government added 21 websites to its list of fraudulent sites, it noted that all fraudulent schemes are similar. An FSMA warning explained how the scammers will promise high returns, a promise of initial investment even if the market collapses and the ability to withdraw funds anytime.
But it says:
“All these promises are worthless, however: if an offer is fraudulent, the promises that accompany it are equally so.”