Chinese police have seized more than $ 4.2 billion in crypto assets in their crackdown on the Plustoken Ponzi scheme.
According to a court ruling made public on November 26 and shared by The Block, law enforcement has confiscated a total of 194,775 bitcoins (BTC), 833,083 ether (ETH), 1.4 million litecoins (LTC) and 27, 6 million EOS.
They also took 74,167 DASH, 487 million ripple (XRP), 6 billion DOGE, 79,581 bitcoin cash (BCH) and 213,724 tether (USDT).
The assets were seized from seven people sentenced during the police crackdown, the court ruling said. Overall, cryptocurrencies are worth over $ 4.2 billion, using prevailing market prices.
The ruling of the Yancheng Intermediate People’s Court said that once digital assets are processed according to existing national laws, they will be confiscated from the national treasury. However, it is unclear how exactly this process will be performed.
In July, police in China arrested 109 people linked to the Plustoken Ponzi scheme, 27 of whom were believed to be the alleged masterminds. Local media later reported that the racketeering had scammed $ 7.6 billion worth of cryptocurrencies from over two million people.
The scheme advertised itself as a cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider, promising users who have invested a minimum of $ 500 in high daily bitcoin payments. The Yancheng Intermediate People’s Court said Plustoken officially operated between May 2018 and June 27, 2019, attracting over 2.6 million members across 3,293 tiers.
During this period, the pyramid scheme absorbed over 314,000 BTC, 117,450 BCH, 96,023 DASH, 11 billion DOGE, 1.84 million LTC, 9 million ETH, 51 million EOS and 928 million XRP.
The court said the assets were worth approximately 14.8 billion yuan or approximately $ 2.2 billion at the time of takeover. Current valuations place the loot above 11 billion yuan. Plustoken used these funds to pay members to recruit new targets, while the project minds would cash out some for daily and personal expenses.
Ponzi collapsed in June 2019, citing “system maintenance”, a typical exit strategy from the scam. Chinese authorities intervened quickly, arresting dozens of key Plustoken members.
According to the latest court ruling, a total of 15 people have so far been convicted and sentenced to two to 11 years in prison with fines ranging from $ 100,000 to $ 1 million.
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