South Africa’s Police Probes USD 80 Million in Crypto Scam

The alleged investment fraud has affected more than 28 000 people.

by Marin Marinov
28 May • 4 min
In News

South Africa’s police is investigating Bitcoin investment firm BitCaw Trading Company, popular as BTC Global, for a fraud of around USD 80 million, the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) has announced.

Members of the public are believed to have been targeted as part of the scam and encouraged by of BTC Global agents to invest with promises of 2% interest per day, 14% per week and ultimately 50% per month,” the Hawks explained in a statement.

The alleged scam, which has affected more than 28 000 people so far, is under the authority of the special economic department of Hawks, the Serious Economic Offences Unit.

The probe

The South African elite police unit found that some investors actually got paid under their agreement with BitCaw Trading Company. However, the payments, which were made every Monday, suddenly stopped.

“This may prove to be the tip of the iceberg with potentially thousands more yet to discover they’ve lost money. This is a timely reminder that unregulated, unusual investments at home or abroad come with a high risk that people could lose all their hard-earned pension and other saving,” Yolisa Matakata, acting National Head of the Hawks, said.

The Hawks expects the number of affected people to rise while the probe is deepening.

“Despite the setback we want to assure the affected individuals that we are investigating the matter but due to the large volumes, it will take time to conclude,” Matakata added in a statement.

BitCaw Trading Company

BitCaw Trading Company is founded by Andrew Caw, according to its website. On the website, which looks like a homepage from the dawn of Internet, Caw explains that he doesn’t offers mining or trading of cryptocurrencies because of the higher risks involved, while he encourages ‘hodling’.

“I Promote Holding - Simply buying Bitcoin & keeping it in a safe wallet has outperformed Mining or any other traditional investment I've ever seen. In fact, over the last 3 years holding Bitcoin would have given you a 6000%+ growth on your initial capital,” the site reads.

The Facebook account of Caw was updated for the last time on April 5 and the Twitter one – on March 23.  The Terms section of BitCaw Trading, which was updated on May 21, reveals that company has a subsidiary, Coin Buyers, owned by Andrew Caw and his brother James. The service looks still operational and again offers Bitcoin investment help.

“Setup a secure wallet to store your Bitcoin using our handy guide. Start Receiving Bitcoin: when your debit order runs, we'll buy your Bitcoin ready to send to your secure Wallet. Relax, and join the revolution,” Coin Buyer explains on its website.