Victor Ugochukwu · Dec 14, 2020 . 5min read
Australia’s BitConnect promoter suffers charges from ASIC
BitConnect crypto scam comes into the limelight again as the ASIC announces charges against its promoter John Louis Anthony Bigatton.
By Komal Joshi · Nov 18, 2020 . 6min read
The ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) declared on Tuesday that it had charged Bitconnect promoter, John Louis Anthony Bigatton, for various financial crimes. This legal action occurred after the conclusion of the agency’s investigation on Bigatton and his engagement with the multi-billion dollar crypto scam. In September, ASIC forced a seven-year ban on Bigatton from offering any financial services.
For the uninformed, BitConnect was a heavily-promoted online crypto platform managed by the BitConnect Lending Platform. It assured huge returns to its investors. However, it rolled out to be a Ponzi investment scheme that supposedly scammed investors out of $US2.6 billion. The scheme increased traction in 2017 with the boom in the crypto market. In January 2018, BitConnect terminated the exchange platform and cleared all the loans provided on the platform.
ASIC banned BitConnect in 2018
In September 2018, ASIC declared that it has severely taken to outlaw financial fraud and has ceased giving some initial coins or token-generating public issues for personal investors. The ASIC cited Bigatton for his role as the Australian national promoter of Bitconnect from August 2017- January of 2018. According to ASIC, he performed an unregistered managed investment scheme in the nation. Moreover, he also offered unlicensed financial advice to various investors throughout the country.
ASIC further claims that during four seminars led by Bigatton, he made inaccurate or misleading statements that were expected to provoke investors to apply for or gather interests in the BitConnect Lending Platform. The Aussie regulator accused John Bigatton with one count of running an unregistered investment scheme. Additionally, one count of rendering unlicensed financial services. Moreover, four counts of presenting a false or misleading statement concerning market participation.
If sentenced for the first charge, John Bigatton might face up to 5 years jail time accompanied by a maximum fine of AUD 42,000 (around $30,800). However, the second will get him two years imprisonment with the same penalty. Nonetheless, each count of misleading financial statements can get him ten years in jail. The court can also strike him a fine of AUD 945,000 (around $693,000). The court can also charge three times the commissions he earned from the investments.
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