The Mumbai Police crime branch unveiled a new scam that sold millions of dollars’ worth of fake cryptocurrency to Indian investors. The fake ICO was run in the name of Money Trade Coin (MTC).

Investigating officers found fabricated documents at the company premises. The main suspect, Amit Madanlal Lakhanpal, is believed to have escaped to Dubai while five other prime suspects are missing. A local police officer is also accused of helping the fraudsters run their business.

Another Day, Another Fraud

A new ICO scam report arrives from India today where investors were duped of over $75 million. A new technology company claimed to have designed a new cryptocurrency called Money Trade Coin (MTC) in Mumbai.

After a businessman suspected that the coin is a fraud, he contacted the local police, and the crime branch raided the company premises soon after. The case is under investigation by the local crime branch.

The technology service provider to the company, Taha Kazi, was arrested by the authorities. The police seized forged documents, rubber stamps, and 53 laptops at the company office.

A local police officer named Dighambar Jangale is also being linked to the case. The assistant inspector of police (API) is suspected to have helped the accused in running his fake ICO business.

All the suspects in the case have been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery cases under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The officer in charge of the investigation revealed the modus operandi of the fraud to the local media. He explained:

“Just like an initial public offering (IPO), MTC offered a private initial coin offering (ICO), wherein he invited people and offered coins for just $3 each. Later, he hiked the value of one coin to $6,000, but nobody could cash his or her investment as MTC was never listed on any cryptocurrency exchange.”

Murky Details Reveal a Grim Picture

The MTC website is still live and could bring in any unsuspecting visitors to invest with ease. It is important to note that the poorly-made site does not even feature a white paper about the cryptocurrency.

It does not also have dedicated pages showing the team working on it and the press mentions of the project. What makes matters worse is that the company was still given a glorifying feature-length coverage in Forbes Middle East.

The article made several tall claims about the project. For instance, it suggested that it was launched with Bollywood glitz and glamor in Dubai.

Bitcoin Global FZE and an “alleged” close aide of the U.A.E. royal family, Salma Al Kitebe, was also named in the article as intellectual property owners. The report also suggested the use of Money Trade Coin Virtual Card, which further implies that users are not required to verify their identity if they spend below a certain lower limit.

Initial coin offering concept. Source: Shutterstock.com
Initial coin offering concept. Source: Shutterstock.com

An Unpleasant Digital Coin World

It is quite astonishing to note that a company with zero credentials was given such footage by an international publication. One look at the article shows that it was not even written up to the usual Forbes standards and is, apparently, a blatant and unapologetic promotion claiming to be news.

Another thing to note is the sheer craze of the crypto world where people are investing all their money into ventures that do not even have a legit business model.

This is also not the first time that Indian police officers have linked to a crypto scam. Earlier, eight officers were indicted in Gujarat for extorting 200 BTC from a local businessperson.

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