Six of them have pleaded guilty.
Japanese authorities have arrested a group of eight men for hatching a Ponzi scheme allegedly worth $68 million in crypto investments.
As reported by local news outlet Asahi Shimbun, the scheme involved about 6,000 people, and accumulated ¥ 7.8 billion (which is around $68 million) to fund an anonymous pyramid scheme.
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan police, the group did not register their company with regulators, thereby violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law.
As cryptocurrencies aren’t explicitly recognised by the FIEL as securities, the scheme remained under the radar until some of its victims voiced their concern.
The lawyers representing those affected by the Ponzi scheme said the perpetrators took bitcoin investments from nine men and women while claiming to represent an American investment firm named “Sener.”
They had promised returns between three and 20 percent – even greater if they enlisted others to join the scheme.
The group went on to use the collected investments to purchase more bitcoins.
Of the eight involved, six have pleaded guilty, with the remaining two pleading innocent.
A lawsuit has since been filed against the group by 73 victims, charging a total of $3 million in damages.
Japan has been nudging toward a more stringent attitude toward cryptocurrency. The Japanese Financial Services Agency announced yesterday that it is working to create a regulatory system for crypto wallet services, which aims to implement anti-terrorism, anti-money laundering and anti-hacking standards. According to TheNextWeb, this’ll likely see wallets implementing Know Your Customer policies.