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Indian Authorities Bust Crypto Racket, More Than $5M Stolen From Victims

Per a report from The Times of India, an alleged crypto racket organization has been busted in the city of Nagpur. The report claims the...
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Per a report from The Times of India, an alleged crypto racket organization has been busted in the city of Nagpur. The report claims the organization drained off over Rs40 crore or $5.36 million using a shell company called “Ether Trade Asia”.

Related Reading | RBI Governor Calls Crypto A Threat To India’s Macroeconomic Financial Stability

The crypto-based criminal operation could have had ties in multiple regions. 11 suspects were arrested during the weekend in a raid conducted in collaboration with different police departments, the report claims. According to Amitesh Kumar, Nagpur’ chief police,

The gang was staying in a duplex with friends, families and others. Wives and children of many too were present when cops zeroed in on the gang.

Kumar made these statements in a press briefing last Saturday and stated that the operation might have stolen more than the aforementioned number. The different police departments working in collaboration were able to seize several luxury vehicles and other high-end items, the report said, including multiple firearms and ammunition.

According to the authorities, an estimated 170 people were victims of the crypto racket. These victims lost million in U.S. dollars by apparently using a website to send ETH in hopes of turning in a profit.

The police identified Nishid Wasnik and his spouse Pragati Wasnik, and their assistants Gajan Mungune, and Sandesh Lanjewar as the alleged suspect behind the crypto racket, The Times of India reported. The suspects were supposedly on the run from the authorities but were finally caught with “the help of cyber techniques”.

In addition to the crypto-related criminal activity, the suspect has been accused of allegedly kidnapping and murdering Madhav Pawar, a former member of the operation, in 2021. Pawar apparently withheld information on a “crucial transaction” that pointed the authorities to Wasnik, the main suspect behind the gruesome crime.

Crypto Racket Stole Over 1,500 ETH, What The Authorities Suspect

Further information provided by the authorities claims the alleged Wasnik led gang has been under the protection of a criminal organization based in Pune since 2017. During this period up to the arrest, the gang has been capturing people to steal their funds in Ethereum (ETH). Chief Police Kumar said:

The racketeers misappropriated around 1,500-2,000 Ethers (a type of cryptocurrency) each valued at around Rs 2.25 lakh (over $2,000). They also duped investors in cash transaction indicating that the fraud could be worth several crores mores (several millions in USD).

Apparently, the gang used to throw luxury events in the Pachmarhi to attract potential victims. These people were instructed to purchase ETH and sent to Ether Trade Asia, the website and front of the criminal operation. The Chief Police added:

On the website, the gang projected a notional benefit to each investor but siphoned of their Ethers to benefit Wasnik and his aides. Wasnisk and his gang seemed to have transferred hugh number of Ethers to some other site or monetized them to support his lavish lifestyle.

Related Reading | Data Shows Bitfinex Hack Woke Up Largest Ever 5yr+ Bitcoin Supply

As of press time, ETH trades at $2,632 with a 1.2% and 8.9% loss in the last day and 7-days, respectively.

ETH trends to the downside on the 4-hour chart. Source: ETHUSD Tradingview





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