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A man alleged to have promoted the cryptocurrency fraud BitConnect faces a prison term in Australia.

  • The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) announced Tuesday that John Bigatton has been charged with operating an unregistered managed investment scheme, providing unlicensed financial services and making false or misleading statements affecting market participation.
  • The charges (six in total) each bring possible maximum prison terms of two–10 years, as well as possible monetary penalties totaling upwards of A$80,000 (US$58,500).
  • The financial watchdog gave Bigatton a seven-year ban from offering financial services back in September.
  • He is accused of promoting the Ponzi scheme until it collapsed in early 2018.
  • ASIC said the cryptocurrency launched by the operators had accrued a market capitalization of more than US$2.5 billion at the height of the bull market in in December 2017.
  • BitConnect was set up as a crypto lending scheme, but had a multi-level marketing structure and touted unfeasibly high payouts, attracting the ire of regulators.

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