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Bitcoin Scam in Austria Leaves 10,000 victims Short of $115 million

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Optioment, an entity that allegedly claimed to be a Costa Rican-based Bitcoin Fund while promising outsized returns to Austrian investors through the use of arbitrage trading, has had Austrian authorities asking Interpol for help with nabbing the culprits who have got away with millions from investors through the scheme.

Reportedly, the operators of the multilevel investment scheme have made away with a sizeable amount of Bitcoins which were collected from over 10,000 investors. These investors have now become victims of the scheme as its website is currently offline.

Apart from the fact that the scheme was selling a Bitcoin Investment product up to a premium level, the operators of the scheme also claimed to be a private Bitcoin fund based in Costa Rica. Furthermore, it also put out a bold claim of its platform being backed by securities of about 35,000 BTC.

Promise of Huge Returns

According to Die Presse’s report, the scheme managed to lure thousands of investors in with the promise of high weekly returns, ranging from about 1.5 percent to 4 percent. Furthermore, an excerpt from the defunct Optiment site reveals that the operators also claimed to pay out Bitcoins whenever investors shared the platform with business colleagues and friends in an effort to speed up marketing and outreach. The scheme also claimed to offer an incremental return on the level of invites a user would generate to the platform, with 3 percent for the lowest level, 4 percent for the middle level and a whopping 7 percent return on the first and highest level. Details from the defunct site show that the entity paid out every time a member in the downline of an investor made a deposit on the platform.

Leading to a Collapse

The Optionent operators had arranged for an investor’s conference that saw 700 participants grace the Vienna hotel just weeks before the investment scheme went down. In fact, the network had already spread far and wide, all the way up to Poland, former Yugoslavia, and Romania before its collapse in November 2017. Currently, Austria’s Financial Market Authority has initiated an investigation with the help of Interpol and although no arrests have been made, two people in Austria have already been identified and accused of fraud. Reports indicate that there have been “hundreds of complaints” from investors in Austria, with prosecutors hinting that the scam might have also affected investors as far away as Germany.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

What do you think about this scam? Have you ever invested in a high yield investment program? Let us know what you think.

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