$1.73 Billion Bitcoin (BTC) Fraud Organizers Punished by U.S. Court

Vladislav Sopov

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) shares details of what might be ‘largest fraud scheme case involving Bitcoin’

An American trading watchdog celebrates a prominent victory: a U.S. court orders the masterminds of a scam exposed by CFTC to pay a $1.73 billion fine. For almost three years, fraudsters were luring gullible investors into a multi-level “investing” scheme that involved both FX and cryptocurrency elements.

CFTC shut down largest crypto scam in its history, court orders scammers to pay whopping penalty

Mirror Trading International, a popular “trading company” that appeared to be a giant global Ponzi scheme, has to pay a $1.73 billion fine, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas orders. The same sum must be paid to victims in restitution by the owner of scheme, per the press release shared by the U.S. CFTC.

U.S. Judge David Ezra found MTI liable of fraud in connection with retail foreign currency (forex) transactions, fraud by a commodity pool operator (CPO), registration violations and failure to comply with CPO regulations.

The platform is now undergoing a liquidation procedure in South Africa. The order also permanently enjoins MTI from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and imposes permanent trading bans on any CFTC-regulated market as well as a registration ban against MTI.

CFTC Director of Enforcement Ian McGinley stresses that the scam is the largest Bitcoin-based fraud revealed by his entity:

The settlement with MTI and default judgment against CEO Steynberg represent the latest stage in our battle against fraudsters who victimized over 23,000 individuals from the U.S. Here, the fraudsters made the most modern of promises, claiming their ‘Advanced Intelligence Software with Bitcoin as the base currency’ would create untold wealth for investors, but were actually committing a classic form of fraud, a multilevel marketing scam.

At the same time, CFTC admits that the order may not result in payouts to victims as the wrongdoers might not have enough money to cover fines and restitution.

No, you can’t benefit from “advanced intelligence software” based on Bitcoin (BTC)

Per the order, between May 2018 and March 2021, the platform and its CEO Cornelius Johannes Steynberg were inviting people to join their multilevel global marketing scheme.

Victims were asked to send their Bitcoins (BTC) to the pool that was allegedly backed by Bitcoin-based advanced intelligence software capable of generating income.

Then, the funds were traded on OTC desks. In total, the platform in question might be responsible for almost 30,000 Bitcoins (BTC) disappearing, the order says.

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