John Louis Anthony Bigatton Promoted Bitconnect Crypto Services Without A License

The Australian Securities and Exchange Commission (ASIC) claims that John Louis Anthony Bigatton promoted the Bitconnect crypto lending platform at four seminars and via two social media posts.

An Australian man has pleaded guilty to his involvement in promoting cryptocurrency lending services for the now-defunct crypto exchange BitConnect — an infamous entity that allegedly ran as a Ponzi scheme and shut down in 2018 amid accusations of defrauding victims of more than $2.4 billion.

“Mr. Bigatton provided financial product advice without holding an Australian Financial Services license or authorization to provide financial services about the lending platform,” the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission (ASIC) declared in a May 17 statement.

ASIC alleged that in his role as BitConnect’s national promoter, John Louis Anthony Bigatton offered financial product advice on six occasions at different locations across Australia, at four seminars, and through two social media posts.

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“Mr Bigatton undertook promotional activities for BitConnect and the Lending Platform on social media, at seminars that he hosted at various locations around Australia, and through face-to-face meetings with investors.”

BitConnect’s lending platform was promoted as an investment opportunity, encouraging investors to buy BitConnect coin (BCC) through its website.

Investors could loan BCC for a fixed time in return for high interest rates. Once they invested, they couldn’t control their loans or withdraw their money until the lending period ended. 

It was allegedly set up in this way so the platform could operate as a Ponzi scheme, paying early BitConnect investors with money from later investors, according to the United States Internal Revenue Service.

A sentencing hearing is set for July 5.

BitConnect launched in February 2016 and operated a platform and a digital currency before shutting down in January 2018. The founders eventually vanished with investors’ money. 

A few years later, in January 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ordered a restitution of $17 million for the fraudulent scheme.

A group of crypto fraud victims of the BitConnect investment scheme saw some respite from the multibillion-dollar fraud scheme after a court ordered they receive a share in a $17 million restitution.

The whereabouts of founder Satish Kumbhani is still unknown.

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