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Indian Authorities Crack Down on $120 Million STA Crypto Token Scam: 200,000 Victims Affected

CryptoIndian Authorities Crack Down on $120 Million STA Crypto Token Scam: 200,000 Victims Affected

Indian law enforcement authorities achieved a significant breakthrough in their fight against cryptocurrency-related Ponzi schemes on August 8th. They apprehended key figures responsible for orchestrating a massive fraudulent venture that exploited the cryptocurrency space. The scam revolved around a cryptocurrency initiative called STA Crypto Token, which claimed to blend advanced solar technologies with blockchain.

The scale of this deception is astounding, with reports indicating that the scheme accumulated a staggering Rs 1,000 crore (equivalent to 10 billion rupees or approximately $120 million) from unsuspecting victims. Approximately 200,000 individuals, including 10,000 residents of Odisha, fell victim to this widespread scam, highlighting its pervasive nature and ability to ensnare even those with basic cryptocurrency knowledge.

The successful arrests were conducted by the Economic Offence Wing of the Odisha police. The key individuals apprehended were Gurtej Singh Sidhu, the mastermind behind the fraudulent project, and his associate Nirod Das. Sidhu, who evaded arrest by frequently changing locations, was eventually caught after an extensive pursuit spanning several days.

During the investigation, police uncovered a trail of transactions totaling more than Rs 30 crore (equivalent to 300 million rupees or approximately $3.6 million) in Das’s bank account, intricately linked to the fraudulent activities of STA Token.

This cryptocurrency scam operated across multiple regions within India without official approval from the Reserve Bank of India or other regulatory authorities. The fraudsters concealed their true nature by promoting eco-friendly promises and sophisticated marketing strategies. These strategies included hosting extravagant events at upscale hotels with guest speakers and musical performances.

While the project’s website was hosted in Iceland, it’s crucial to note that the scam was exclusively operational within India. This serves as a reminder that despite the global nature of cryptocurrencies, scams can be localized and targeted at specific regions.

Unfortunately, this cryptocurrency scam is not an isolated incident in India. Earlier in the year, authorities took action against the HPZ token project, seizing nearly $12 million associated with it. Additionally, various crypto-related frauds, including those linked to entities like Morris coin, GainBitcoin, and a Karnataka-based scam, have come to light.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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