It's a load of crypto crap, cry SA's BTC Global investors
But woman at the centre of the controversy in Johannesburg claims there is no scam
A Johannesburg woman at the centre of what is alleged to be South Africa’s biggest cryptocurrency scam says she has been receiving death threats and has had to lay criminal charges against a man who threatened her at her home.
Cheri Ward has also obtained an interim protection order against a woman who claimed to have exposed the $50-million “scam” in which more than 27,500 people have invested money from as little as R16,000 to R1.4-million in a get-rich cryptocurrency scheme.
The Hawks on Thursday confirmed that the Serious Commercial Crimes Unit was investigating complaints against BTC Global, a company in which people from South Africa, America and Australia have invested cryptocurrency valued at over $50-million by transferring bitcoins into an online wallet address.The man behind the company was said to be forex and commodities trader “Steve Twain” and investors received inconsistent weekly payouts until Twain disappeared two weeks ago.
Investors are now wondering whether Twain really existed at all.
Twain’s administration team wrote on Facebook two weeks ago that they could not locate him, sparking outrage from investors.
“I have received a number of death threats, in addition to being defamed, harassed and intimidated on social media and online. My children have also been subjected to threats, as well as being defamed on social media,” Ward told Times Select.
Ward said she was referred to Twain by a business partner and she invested with BTC Global in 2017.
She said she was then approached to assist with the administration of members’ details.
“No monies or bitcoin was controlled by me or anyone else besides Steven Twain,” she said.
She said she hadn’t been questioned by police with regard to the company.
But Pretoria factory owner Carel Brits, who invested R1.4-million with BTC Global, is furious.
He received one commission payment of about R9,200 and one weekly payment of about R42,000 before Twain disappeared.
Charmain le Roux, who invested R80,000, is equally outraged.
“My son lost R1,600 and my friend lost R50,000,” she said.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha said more than 27, 500 people may have been duped out of about $50-million by investing with “master trader” Twain.
But Ward maintains that no one was scammed.“I repeat that no one was scammed. All the investors I have had contact with received weekly returns, as undertaken by Steven Twain from the outset,” she said.
“Every single person who invested in BTC Global did so of their own volition and subsequent to having conducted their own research into the fund. As is the case with any fund into which money is invested, there is no guarantee that an investor will be receiving any return on their investment.”
Antoon correct Botha confirmed that his firm, BMV Attorneys based in Bedfordview, had taken on clients involved with BTC Global.
“We are in the process of finalising our instruction or mandate to proceed against BTC and or its representatives, the nature and extent of which will be evident from our pleadings or papers.”
The firm was representing five clients but anticipated there would be others from “vast number of other affected parties who are situated over a wide geographical area”.
They were assisting potential claimants to organise themselves into an association with a steering committee and which would target “the ultimate fair distribution of funds recovered from those who had gained under the scheme”.
He said there was prima facie evidence to support charges of common law fraud and theft as well as transgressions of the Banks Act, among others.