800 victims of ‘massive’ Bitconnect fraud to receive $17M restitution

The millions will be distributed among the select number of victims, but thousands more were impacted by the $2.4 billion fraudulent scheme.

A group of crypto fraud victims of the BitConnect investment scheme will see some respite from the multi-billion dollar fraud scheme after a court ordered they receive a share in a $17 million restitution.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of California ordered the restitution for the “massive” scheme on Jan. 12 according to a release on the same day by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

800 victims of the scheme, hailing from 40 countries will be able to take a small slice of the $17 million restitution, a term that refers to returning property or monetary value of losses to the proper owner.

The DOJ statement noted that Bitconnect was a purported crypto lending platform that touted proprietary technology including the “Bitconnect Trading Bot” and “Volatility Software” that claimed would net investors guaranteed returns.

It promised a return an average daily compounding interest of 1% or 3,700% annually.

Investors would trade in Bitcoin (BTC) receiving Bitconnect Coin (BCC) in return which could be lent out at varying rates of interest.

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However, the whole platform turned out to be a “textbook Ponzi scheme,” as early investors were paid with funds supplied by new investors, it wrote.

The crypto platform launched in 2016 but collapsed in 2018 after pilfering $2.4 billion from over 4,000 people from 95 countries.

Related: How to tell if a cryptocurrency project is a Ponzi scheme

The alleged founder of Bitconnect, Satish Kumbhani, was charged by the DOJ in February 2022. He is also subject to a police investigation in India and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

Kumbhani (right) in a 2017 interview. Image: YouTube

The top U.S.-based Bitconnect promotor, Glenn Arcaro, pled guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges in September 2021 and was ordered to pay back $24 million to investors.

According to the DOJ, Arcaro and others used 15% of Bitconnect investor money for a slush fund to be used for the benefit of its owner and other promoters.

On Sep. 16, 2022, Arcaro was sentenced to 38­ months in prison for his participation in Bitconnect.

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