Ukraine Dismantles $40 Million Russian Crypto Pyramid – The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has announced that they have uncovered a fraudulent investment scheme named ‘Life Is Good’, wherein the perpetrators enticed prospective investors with promises of multiplying their money through the purchase of shares in multinational corporations.
Over 1,000 individuals were reportedly deceived by the orchestrators of a significant pyramid scheme, resulting in nearly $40 million dollars in illicit profits. The defrauded parties were directed to transfer funds directly into the perpetrators’ bank accounts and cryptocurrency wallets.
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The Life Is Good investment scheme operated through an online platform that created fictitious investor accounts. Potential clients were lured in with promises of stable returns through dividends and “guaranteed” bonuses if they successfully referred new investors to the project.
As per the findings of Ukrainian investigators, the criminal ring behind the pyramid scheme consisted predominantly of Russian nationals, with over 10 individuals involved in the case. The fraudulent scheme was initiated in the Russian Federation in 2017 and had a subsidiary branch in Ukraine.
In the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion that began in late February 2022, the organizers of the pyramid scheme endeavored to conceal their complicity by devising a system to acquire cryptocurrencies through a network of exchanges operating throughout Ukraine.
Collaborating with their counterparts from the Ukrainian police and prosecutors, the SBU officials conducted a search of Life Is Good’s Kyiv offices, confiscating computers, mobile phones, accounting papers, and other documentation that pointed to potential criminal activity, including promotional materials.
Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have been improving their cryptocurrency proficiency, given the country’s status as a frontrunner in crypto adoption within the region. As per a March report, personnel from the country’s Cyberpolice, Asset Recovery and Management Agency, and SBU participated in training sessions hosted by Binance, the world’s foremost digital asset exchange.
The Cyberpolice, the Ukrainian cybercrime prevention unit, reportedly dismantled a cryptocurrency scam in November, which was believed to be generating €200 million ($207 million at the time) in annual profits by ensnaring investors through a network of representative offices and call centers throughout Europe.