Bitcoin investors in South Africa stand to lose millions after the CEO of a Johannesburg-based cryptocurrency investment firm, VaultAge Solutions, was reported fugitive after he cut off all communications since December 2018.
The Polokwane Hawks, who are the investigating authority, in this case, said that several Bitcoin investors cried foul when the now-inoperative VaultAge Solutions CEO, Willie Breedt, made a run for it after pocketing millions of dollars worth of investment.
The cryptocurrency regulations in South Africa are underway precisely for this one reason – to reduce the influence of anonymous entities on the general public that deal in private and unwarranted cryptocurrency transactions. Although the region is relatively pro-crypto and believes it to be the future of money, it has also been a hotbed of some of the biggest cryptocurrency scams.
Bitcoin investors in South African exit scam suspect foul play
A group of over 2,000 Bitcoin investors decided to invest millions of South African rand in Breedt’s too-good-to-be-true yet unverified investment scheme. Despite not acquiring a valid operating license from the Financial Services Conduct Authority, one investor thought it to be a wise idea to plow in around R6 million in the dubious scheme put forth by VaultAge Solutions.
Today, the investor has no more than R50 in the wallet and a few generic emails from the alleged absconder. Lettie Engelbrecht from Krugersdorp, who is one of the many distraught Bitcoin investors, states that their requests to return the hard-earned investor money has fallen on deaf ears.
“When I first contacted Breedt to return my money, all I received was a non-specific email that simply promised to repay the outstanding amount. It didn’t mention how and when. Since then, I haven’t received any other communication.”
Desperately seek a refund
Unfortunately, most of his Bitcoin investors are pensioners surviving on tight resources. For them, an investment of R200,000 is considerably high as they desperately seek a much-needed refund and a probe into the case. Although their investments did yield significant returns, as promised by Breedt, from December to April, there has been no information and communication in the following months, said the report.
Currently, Hawks have no whereabouts of Breedt, with speculations ranging from seeking asylum near the town of Jeffrey’s Bay or fleeing the country with millions in his pocket as thousands of devastated Bitcoin investors eagerly await more information on this case.