South African Crypto pool operator runs a scheme to collect Bitcoin worth $1.7 billion

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On Thursday, the CFTC said that it charged a South African CEO who’s also a crypto pool operator for a $1.7 billion Bitcoin fraud case. Cornelius Johannes Steynberg and Mirror Trading International Proprietary Ltd. (MTI) are charged by the derivatives watchdog.

Civil enforcement action was taken against the CEO and his company for fraud and registration violations.

“This action is CFTC’s largest fraud scheme case involving bitcoin.”

The CFTC said that Cornelius was the individual and the controller of the company MTI. It was involved in an international fraud— a multilevel marketing scheme. The company solicited money from the public to participate in a commodity pool operated by MTI.

Cornelius confessed to the CFTC that he accepted 29,421 bitcoin with a value of over $1.7 billion at the end of the period. The CFTC wants “full restitution to defrauded investors, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction against future violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations.”

The watchdog concluded that Cornelius was a fugitive from South Africa wanted by the South African police. He was recently detained in Brazil on an Interpol arrest warrant.

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