The owner of a Hong Kong e-sports and cryptocurrency mining company has vanished after the company allegedly defrauded Macau investors out of HK$20 million (US$2.5 million), according to a report by the Macau News Agency.
More than 70 Macau residents were allegedly deceived into investing an estimated HK$20 million (US$2.5 million) into an investment scheme from Forger Esports, an e-sports and IT supplier that got into the cryptocurrency business in late-2017.
In a press conference held in Hong Kong, disgruntled investors in a business investment scheme offered by Forger Esports accused the company of illegal practices.
During a seminar back in January, Forger Esports representatives told people present that it had established a cryptocurrency mining enter in Hong Kong named Forger CCMS that was supporting its operations and that it planned to develop 40 to 60 mining services that would generate close to HK$200,000 (US$25,400) worth of cryptocurrency mined every month. Attendants were asked to invest in the expansion project in exchange for fixed returns.
The company stopped paying the promised fixed returns to its investors in July. Investors subsequently attempted to contact the company owner via WhatsApp, but to no avail.
14 people have called the Macau police for assistance, while ten made a report to a Hong Kong police station.
Forger Esports is said to have signed around 142 contracts amounting to a total of more than HK$50 million (US$6.370 million) in principals and returns.
Cryptocurrency scams have proliferated in recent years as criminals look to tap into the cryptocurrency frenzy to lure naive investors by promising absurdly high rates of return.
Vietnamese cryptocurrency company Modern Tech promised investors up to 40% in monthly profit before vanishing with VND15 trillion (US$660 million) of investors’ money in April.
This week, the investigation unit of Vietnam’s public security ministry began investigating another massive cryptocurrency fraud scheme ran by a local company called VNCoin. According to police, from August to November of 2016, 6,000 investors committed capital to the tune of VND200 billion (US$8.5 million) into numerous made-up projects.
The Forger Esports scandal comes on the heels of the crackdown of a fake cryptocurrency company called Ripple Future in India. On Wednesday, police arrested the two men running the scam for duping 1,800 people of Rs 30 crore (US$4.3 million). Ripple Future promised to triple investors’ money in 250 days.