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 news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, 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. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.