Cryptocurrency scams have become ever-present over the past few years. Identifying the culprits responsible for financial losses is often very difficult. In Australia, five individuals were charged with running a cryptocurrency scam, money laundering, and fraud. These cold call investment calls triggered significant financial losses for victims. 

Operation Quebec Walnut

It is rather interesting to see how police officials decide to label their ongoing cryptocurrency-related investments In this particular incident, the operation goes by the name of Quebec Walnut, even though the fraud mainly focuses on victims living on the Gold Coast. It is believed this particular scam ran for nearly two full years and caused over 100 Australians to lose money in the process. It is another example of how cryptocurrencies continue to attract criminals at every turn. 

During the time this scam was running at full throttle, several cold calls were placed on behalf of “Exmount Holdings Group”. This company appeared perfectly legitimate for all intents and purposes, although that was nothing but a mirage. Several other “affiliated” online platforms are named in the investigation as well, all of which shared the same purpose of defrauding Australians. It is believed over $2.7m was stolen from users, yet recovery of the funds remains an ongoing process.

Trial Investments and High Returns

Most people can smell a pyramid scheme from miles away, yet it appears these Australian victims had a fair few problems in doing so. As they received a cold call regarding this “amazing” investment opportunity clients were provided a trial investment. Once they invested more funds, their returns would increase significantly. This is a common pyramid scheme tactic, yet one which continues to prove rather successful.

Once the user tried to withdraw their accumulated funds, they were unable to do so. Although the balances still showed a healthy increase, the actual funds invested was long gone by that time. Contacting the company or its support staff was impossible, primarily because there was no one to fall back on. Pulling an exit scam is pretty common where fictitious investments are concerned, although this attempt proved to be very successful indeed. 

Search Warrants Galore

An investigation on this scale requires a ton of effort and dedication. Police officials and Financial and Cyber Crime Group detectives executed multiple search warrants That hard work eventually paid off, as three men and two women from the Gold Coast were arrested and charged subsequently.  Their court hearings will take place over the next few weeks, as three different dates have been communicated.

Behind the scenes, the officials will continue their investigation and conduct enquiries as necessary. It is likely a fair few victims of this scam were afraid to come forward. Additionally, there is a genuine chance more people were involved in this crime ring. The Financial and Cyber Crime Group will step up its efforts to investigate organized fraud, both within and outside of the cryptocurrency industry. 


Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.

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