Earlier this year, a scam artist named Subash Jewria, also known as Subhashchand Jewria, founded an investment scheme known as ATC Coin. This past week, police charged Jewria with misappropriating investor funds.
ATC Coin was an obvious pyramid scheme from the very beginning. It was built on a supposed cryptocurrency called “ATCC”. Jewria sold pre-mined ATC Coins to investors based on the “projected value” of the coin. Investors could supposedly pay utility bills with the coin.
In reality, the coin was built on a pyramid scheme. It went through a pump and dump rise and fall, and the coins had no value outside of the ATC Coin platform.
According to documents presented to investors, ATC Coin was supposed to be worth a minimum of 38 cents USD by October 2017. However, ATC Coin reached its peak a few weeks before that, hitting a high of $1.90 USD on September 10.
Since September 10, the price of ATC Coin has crashed back down to around 65 cents. That’s still higher than the projected value of 38 cents that the coin was supposed to reach in October. However, investors were also promised continued growth and value.
Furthermore, ATC Coin’s business model required affiliates to purchase ATC Coin for 18 month periods. At the end of that period, investors would be rewarded with an ROI paid out in ATCC.
Like all pyramid schemes, ATC Coin eventually collapsed. Membership dwindled, and users stopped making money. Affiliates who bought ATC Coin during the “pump and dump” phase inevitably filed police reports.
Mumbai Police Charge Jewria And His Brother
Subash Jewria and his brother Chirag Jewria have been charged with misappropriating investor funds.
A preliminary investigation by the Mumbai Economic Offences Wing, or EOW, found that ATC Coin “was a bogus scheme floated by Jewria in the garb of a cryptocurrency.”
The EOW’s investigation also revealed that Jewria attracted 840 million INR, or $12.9 million USD, in investments through his pyramid scheme. He diverted that money to his personal bank accounts. He would later purchase property with investors’ funds.
Investors were told that all invested funds would go into the ATC Coin Ltd. account, where they’d be used to promote the business. However, not a single rupee was deposited into the business’s account.
Like many pyramid schemes, ATC Coin also used a fraudulent UK-based address. The EOW claims that when they tried to verify the London-area address, they found 9,000 additional companies registered at that address. ATC Coin was not one of those companies.
Jewria And His Brother Are Still At Large
Mumbai law enforcement officials seized 28 bank accounts and recovered millions of rupees. They’re hoping to return that money to investors. Jewria’s Mumbai office and residential address have also been raided.
Jewria and his brother have been charged with cheating, criminal breach of trust, and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. Certain charges also fall under the MPID act.
Although both scam artists have been charged, the two men are still at large. The whereabouts of the Jewria brothers is currently unknown.