Illustration by Freepik

Willie Breedt, former CEO of the now-defunct South African crypto fund VaultAge Solutions, has been declared bankrupt, News24 reported on July 6. Currently an alleged bitcoin and crypto scammer, Breedt promised to return investments, but unfortunately, the 2,000 people who believed in him will probably lose around 227 million South African rands, which equates to around $16.3 million USD.

Everything was well back in 2018 when the company was founded. VaultAge Solutions provided opportunities for individuals to get involved with the crypto market at a “low-risk”. The company offered a minimum buy-in of $50 as well as weekly withdraws.

It was later discovered that VS was not registered with South Africa’s Financial Services Conduct Authority. After investors started to sound the alarm and authorities commenced to investigate the company in May, Breedt eventually left for Mozambique on December 21.

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An investor noted at the time:

“We are pensioners and invested 200,000 rand [roughly $11,500 USD]. From December until April, we received payments on the growth of our investment. Since then, we never got any money. We are desperate and living on a shoestring budget.”

In January this year, Breedt, who until then lived in Krugersdorp, moved to the luxury Marina Martinique Estate in Aston Bay near Jeffreys Bay, in Gauteng, South Africa. He was quiet until suddenly disappearing just two weeks ago. The most possible reason for his rapid departure was the fact that debt collectors, employed by the South African National Defence Force, commenced a search for the ‘money’ he owes. Still, he was able to file a case of intimidation with the Jeffreys Bay police just before his retreat.

Last Friday, Simon Dix from Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal, who was one of the biggest investors in the company, with R7.5 million (approximately $500,000), applied successfully for a sequestration order against the alleged scammer CEO, as the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria took the side of the plaintiff. For those who are not familiar with the term, a sequestration order is delivered by a court and obligates that a person or organization who/which is in debt should declare bankruptcy.

The most recent sighting of Breedt was at a guest house in the Silver Lakes Estate in Pretoria, where he did not even book the house with his name. Luckily, the sheriff of the court, the police, South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, and cryptocurrency forensic investigators found him at the same place where he was last spotted.

Authorities confiscated several electronic devices such as laptops and a nano stick, which could contain information on the cryptocurrency traded by Breedt. Usually, such Ledger Nano hardware wallets are used to store cryptocurrencies.

In addition, two South African bank accounts, which belong to Breedt and VaultAge Solutions, were frozen after a court order.

The South African central bank has already assigned the global assurance, tax, and consulting services company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, to perform a serious investigation into VaultAge Solutions and everybody who sold cryptocurrency on behalf of the company.

There were rumors that Breedt has been arrested but no official information has been released on the matter as of press time.

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