Chinese police have seized more than $ 4.2 billion worth of crypto assets in its clash against the Plustoken Ponzi scheme.
According to a court ruling issued publicly on November 26, and shared by The Block, law enforcement seized a total of 194,775 bitcoin (BTC), 833,083 ether (ETH), 1.4 million litecoin (LTC), and 27.6 million EOS .
They also took 74,167 DASH, 487 million ripples (XRP), 6 billion DOGE, 79,581 bitcoin cash (BCH), and 213,724 tires (USDT).
The assets were seized from seven people found guilty during a police collision, a court ruling said. In total, the cryptocurrencies are priced at more than $ 4.2 billion, using overall market prices.
The Yancheng Intermediate People’s Court ruling said once the digital assets are processed in accordance with existing national laws, they will be forfeited to the national treasury. However, it is unclear exactly how this process will be done.
In July, police in China arrested 109 people linked to the Plustoken Ponzi scheme – 27 of whom are believed to be the alleged masterminds. Local media reported at that time that the racket had defrauded $ 7.6 billion worth of crypto from over two million people.
The plan touched down as a crypto wallet and wallet provider, promising consumers who invested at least $ 500 in bitcoin’s high daily payments. The Yancheng Intermediate People’s Court said Plustoken was officially operating between May 2018 and June 27, 2019, drawing in over 2.6 million members across 3,293 levels.
During this time, the pyramid scheme absorbed more than 314,000 BTC, 117,450 BCH, 96,023 DASH, 11 billion DOGE, 1.84 million LTC, 9 million ETH, 51 million EOS, and 928 million XRP.
The court said the assets were worth about 14.8 billion yuan or about $ 2.2 billion at the time of the absorption. Current valuations put the loot above $ 11 billion. Plustoken used this money to pay members to recruit new targets, while scheme chiefs allegedly exchanged some for daily and personal spending.
The Ponzi collapsed in June 2019, citing “system maintenance” – a typical scam exit strategy. Chinese authorities moved in quickly, arresting dozens of key Plustoken members.
According to the latest court ruling, a total of 15 people have been convicted so far and sentenced to between two to 11 years in prison with fines ranging from $ 100,000 to $ 1 million.
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