Chinese police have arrested all 27 primary suspects thought to be responsible for running the massive Plus Token Ponzi scheme.
- Led by the Ministry of Public Security, China's top police force agency, investigators also arrested another 82 core members of the scheme, according to a report from Chinese financial news outlet CLS on Thursday.
- The pyramid scheme is said to have grown to over 3,000 layers since last year and fleeced over 2 million people by using cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, as a funding channel.
- The total amount of crypto assets swindled from investors is approximately worth a whopping 40 billion yuan, or $5.7 billion, the report said.
- The case marks the first time Chinese police have cracked down on a major international Ponzi scheme that used bitcoin as an exchange method.
- Law enforcement started investigating last year and had arrested six members alleged to be connected to the scheme.
- However, the 109 leaders and core members newly arrested had fled the country at the time. It's not clear in the report where they were apprehended.
- The six arrested in 2019 were extradited to China from Vanuatu, where Plus Token was alleged to have operations.
The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.