The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) announced that the alleged BitConnect promoter John Bigatton has been charged with operating an unregistered managed investment scheme. He was also charged for providing unlicensed financial services and making false or misleading statements affecting market participation. Al six charges brought on to him each bring possible maximum prison terms of two–10 years, as well as possible monetary penalties totaling upwards of A$80,000 (US$58,500).
The ASIC had banned Bigatton from offering financial services back in September.
The financial watchdog gave Bigatton a seven-year ban from offering financial services back in September. He is accused of promoting the Ponzi scheme until it collapsed in early 2018. The ASIC said the cryptocurrency launched by the operators had accrued a market capitalization of more than US$2.5 billion at the height of the bull market in December 2017. BitConnect was set up as a crypto lending scheme but had a multi-level marketing structure and touted unfeasibly high payouts, attracting the ire of regulators. BitConnect has been declared as a pyramid scheme.
Crypto scams continue to rise this year amid the pandemic.
Crypto scams in the last few years have increased worldwide as the crypto industry continues to grow. Crypto regulations in most countries are still in a grey area as lawmakers continue to assess the new growing space. Crypto crimes involving fake ICOs, exit scams, Ponzi schemes, and malware attacks have become frequent. As reported earlier, the US Homeland Security identified 21-year-old Conor Freeman as having taken part in the cryptocurrency thefts. Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that five co-accused are before the courts in the United States. Conor Freeman, of Glenageary Court, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, pleaded guilty to knowingly engaging in possession of the proceeds of crime