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DOJ Can Only Pay BitConnect Victims $17 Million After Selling Seized Holdings Too Late

Cryptocurrency ecosystem participants have seen various successful scams. BitConnect may be one of the more successful and better-known initiatives. Years after the fact, victims may finally recuperate some money, even if it is a marginal amount. 

BitConnect Victims May Receive Compensation

It has been a good while since anyone talked about BitConnect. The successful cryptocurrency Ponzi Scheme defrauded thousands of users worldwide. Lawmakers eventually shut it down, but the damage was done. Interestingly, victims of the scam could have been compensated years ago. After all, the US Department of Justice confiscated $56 million from the BitConnect team. That is a fractional amount of the funds stolen from investors, though. 

A recent district court decision may offer some compensation to the scam’s victims. A total of $17 million will be paid out to 800 victims across several dozen countries. It isn’t what most people had hoped for, but it is a start. However, one must wonder why the $17 million is to be paid out, rather than $56 million. In addition, the top promoter of BitConnect pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges over a year ago. It indicates how sluggish the legal system is, even in 2023.

It is believed BitConnect scammed users to the tune of $2 billion. Unfortunately, most of the funds have never been recovered, and no one knows where the money ended up. The scam proved successful due to bold claims stating traders could easily multiply their portfolios. However, there never was any trading software, as investors would only be paid out when new capital entered the ecosystem. In addition, customer funds were used for the team’s “personal use”. 

Crypto Crash Reduces DOJ Holdings

Although the Department of Justice was allowed to sell the $56 million in crypto assets in late 2021, they hesitated to do so. Instead, the holdings are likely affected by the 2022 crypto crash. All cryptocurrencies lost tremendous value in 2022, which would explain why only $17 million remains. The DOJ expected markets to go up, allowing them to recuperate more money for the victims. 

Unfortunately, that was the wrong decision this time around. Even then, $56 million wouldn’t offset losses sustained by most victims either. There is a tremendous gap between $56 million and over $2 billion. 

Most of the stolen funds may be in the hands of BitConnect founder Satish Kumbhani. He remains at large to this day, and is likely living the high life in a remote corner of the world. He likely moved to a country with no extradition to the United States. 

JP Buntinx
JP Buntinx has been writing about cryptocurrency since 2012. His interest in crypto, blockchain, fintech, and finance allows him to cover a broad range of different topics.