BitConnect’s Kumbhani Goes Missing Following $2.4B Indictment

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Just days after a federal grand jury handed down a $2.4 billion indictment of operating a global Ponzi scheme, BitConnect founder Satish Kumbhani, 36, has apparently gone missing from his native India, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) attorney Richard Primoff said in a Monday (Feb. 28) filing to the federal judge in New York. 

An Indian citizen, Kumbhani was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday (Feb. 25). The SEC separately sued Kumbhani in September 2021, claiming he fraudulently raised more than $2 billion for BitConnect.

After shutting down the Lending Program at the heart of BitConnect, Kumbhani “directed his network of promoters to fraudulently manipulate and prop up the price of BitConnect’s digital currency, a commodity known as BitConnect Coin, to create the false appearance of legitimate market demand,” according to the DOJ’s statement.

See also: BitConnect Fraud Indictment Highlights the ICO Era Driving Crypto Enforcement Today

“Kumbhani has likely relocated from India to an unknown address in a different foreign country,” Primoff wrote to the Hon. John G. Koeltl, U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New York.

Primoff indicated that the SEC had been in touch with the unnamed country’s financial regulatory authorities to find Kumbhani’s address but the “location remains unknown.” 

Further, the SEC didn’t know “when its efforts to locate him will be successful, if at all,” Primoff said. He asked the judge if he could have until May 30 to keep searching. 

Kumbhani launched BitConnect and the digital token, BitConnect Coin (BCC), in 2016 and raised billions of dollars from global investors. The platform reportedly offered users 10% interest in BCC. 

Read more: BitConnect Exec Admits to Role in Alleged $2B Crypto Fraud

The company purportedly started attracting negative attention from regulatory bodies and closed the platform on Jan. 16, 2018. Once trading close to $500, BCC prices sunk below $1 in just days following the shuttering of the platform.

Bitconnect’s top promoter, U.S. citizen Glenn Arcaro, pleaded guilty on Sept. 1, 2021, to criminal charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and criminal forfeiture.