Australia’s federal court has placed a travel ban on and frozen the bank accounts of John Bigatton, a prominent promoter of alleged $2.6 billion Ponzi scheme BitConnect, according to a January 5 article in The Sydney Morning Herald.
The Herald states that the travel ban and the subsequent freezing of Bigatton’s assets is part of an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), which is looking into Bigatton’s “business affairs.” This presumably includes his involvement with the BitConnect exchange platform.
In January 2018, BitConnect announced it was shutting down its lending and exchange site due to, in part, “continuous bad press,” which it said had “created a lack of confidence in the platform.” It also cited DDoS attacks and two cease and desist orders from authorities in Texas and North Carolina, which BitConnect stated hindered the “legal continuation of the platform.”
While North Carolina and Texas issued these orders because BitConnect reportedly failed to register with state securities regulators, later that month officials in Kentucky issued a temporary restraining order as part of a lawsuit claiming BitConnect was operating as “both a pyramid and Ponzi scheme.”
Before shutting down, BitConnect promised returns in the region of 40 percent per month to users who lent their BitConnect coins (BCC).
The Herald article states that Bigatton is listed as a “director and shareholder of BitConnect International Plc” and the only BitConnect representative in Australia, but his precise role is difficult to pin down. He is officially listed in UK business filings as British and 32 years old, both of which are doubtful; Bloomberg reporting from February 2018 suggests that at least some of the names and addresses on those filings were bogus.
In the background is the question of Bigatton’s wife, Madeline, who disappeared in March, about the same time the FBI started investigating BitConnect. While John Bigatton is reportedly not a suspect in her disappearance, the unravelling of BitConnect is. Failure to find her after extensive searches have led to fears that she met with foul play or decided to take her own life. Currently, she is still considered missing. According to the Herald, Madeline is the sole director of JB’s Investment Management, which the Australian Securities and Investments Commission believes is linked to John Bigatton (due, no doubt, to the initials).
Bigatton is not the only BitConnect representative to be investigated. In August of last year, Divyesh Darji, the former head of BitConnect India was arrested because of business practices related to the now-defunct crypto exchange platform.
Nathan Graham is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews. He lives in Sparks, Nevada, with his wife, Beth, and dog, Kyia. Nathan has a passion for new technology, grant writing, and short stories. He spends his time rafting the American River, playing video games, and writing.
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