An Indian cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme masquerading as an investment company has crumbled in the aftermath of the Reserve Bank of India’s declaration of cryptocurrency as “illegal tender”.
The Deccan Chronicle reported this week that Ambidant Marketing and Investment Company, run by father and son duo Syed Fareed and Syed Afaq Ahmed, used promises of Halal investments alongside misused Ulemas (Islamic theology scholars) to position itself as a Sharia-compliant investment program for Muslim investors, bringing in huge amounts of investor money without declaring its crypto investment positions.
Deceitful Investment Practices
According to reports, the company used the cover of Halal businesses and investments to attract Muslim investors who were then promised fantastic monthly returns of as much as 50 percent per lakh Rupees (approximately $275). Specifically targeting Muslim investment, the company also allegedly used Ulemas to market its activities as Halal. Without informing investors, the company would then invest the takings in cryptocurrencies where it made a fortune, enabling it to pay the promised returns for a while until the scheme grew bigger. Its crypto investment positions and exposure were never revealed to investors through this time.
As more investors joined the ponzi scheme, payout sizes declined first to 25 percent, and then to 11 percent before finally paying out 9 percent in January 2018, which was its last payout. Before it stopped paying out, some investors had earned up to double their initial investment amounts, which ranged from Rs 50,000 (about $685) to over Rs 1 crore (roughly $137,165).