On Friday, February 5, the US Department of Justice revealed that Serbia has handed over its citizen, Antonije Stojilkovic, 32 years old, to the United States to face charges over conspiracy to commit fraud and launder money through a crypto mining investment scam.
Acting US Attorney Prerak Shah, said:
“We are proud to bring Mr. Stojilkovic to Dallas to face justice in an American courtroom. The U.S. Department of Justice will not relent in our fight against cybercrime.”
The DOJ alleged that Stojilkovic and his six colleagues duped investors across the world – many of them live in northern Texas – out of more than $70 million.
According to the court document, Stojilkovic and his partners (five Serbian co-conspirators and one US-based co-conspirator) set up fake trading platforms from their home bases in China, Serbia, and elsewhere, and used such platforms to advertise cryptocurrency mining and binary options services to innocent investors across the globe.
The culprits operated the platforms under the names of Trinity Mining, BTC Mining Factor, Bancde Options, Options Rider, Dragon Mining, and Start Options.
The binary trading services claimed to offer an average payout of 80% and promised 20% refunds on every lost trade while the crypto mining platforms promised investors to buy Bitcoin at half market price. The $70 million scam cut across several continents, targeting US citizens and foreigners.
By displaying a respectable and convincing online presence, fake figures on their scam investment portals and a series of fraudulent withdrawal history logs and fake wire receipts, Stojilkovic and his partners made investors think that the crypto mining and binary options trading was legitimate business activities.
If found guilty, Stojilkovioc and his co-conspirators would face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.
Apart from Serbia, there is no public information from any other nation making a similar extradition request for the culprits.
Common Crypto Scams to Avoid
The significant rise of Bitcoin’s value has attracted many people to invest in the cryptocurrency in order to get better returns. However, anyone chasing that fortune can easily fall victim to opportunistic con artists who perpetrate cryptocurrency scams.
These scams pitch themselves as investment opportunities, promising high returns, but with a catch; investors have to pay some funds to an agent, or into an account, or asked to send funds somewhere.
Such scams tend to market themselves heavily and hide their true intentions through tried and tested marketing gimmicks. Lots of them have an element of referrals, promoting it to others, or inviting others for some rewards, and their marketing agents are known to be excellent at sales and marketing.
Investors interested in Bitcoin are advised to be aware and stay alert of potential scams associated with fake Bitcoin exchanges, Ponzi schemes, fake cryptocurrencies, ransomware scams, and pump-and-dump scams.
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