New court documents reveal that Chinese authorities have been able to confiscate around $4 billion worth of cryptocurrency — at today’s prices — from the PlusToken Ponzi scheme, The Block reported on 27 November.
Released publicly on 19 November, the court filings show that the crypto assets were obtained from seven individuals connected to the scheme. Chinese law enforcement was able to seize a total of 194,775 BTC, 833,083 ETH, 1.4 million LTC, 27.6 million EOS, 74,167 Dash, 487 million XRP, 6 billion DOGE, 79,581 BCH and 213,724 USDT.
The documents further revealed that one of the convicts was able to successfully launder around $22 million worth of cryptocurrency into Chinese yuan. The ill-gotten funds were used to purchase luxury cars, as well as a number of real estate properties in China, which the police was able to track down.
On 22 September, a low-level district court in the city of Yancheng ruled that all proceeds from the confiscated cryptocurrencies should be forfeited to the national treasury, but it did not publicly reveal its judgement since some convicts had filed appeals to a higher level court. On 19 November, the Jiangsu Yancheng Intermediate People’s Court ruled in favor of the district court, and denied all appeals. It remains unknown how the assets will be dealt with, with the court only stating that they “will be processed pursuant to the laws”.
Launched back in 2018, the PlusToken Ponzi scheme presented itself as a South Korean crypto exchange that could provide its users with monthly returns of 8 – 16%. Using a minimum deposit of $500 in crypto, the scheme was able to absorb an estimated 314,000 BTC, 117,450 BCH, 96,023 Dash, 11 billion DOGE, 1.84 million LTC, 9 million ETH, 51 million EOS, and 928 million XRP by June last year.
Since then, a total of 15 people have been convicted; with sentences ranging between 2 and 11 years. Fines have also been imposed by the court, going up to $1 million.