'Crypto scammer' rings in New Year in Indian jail

A 60-year-old air passenger was arrested in Delhi on New Year’s Eve for allegedly running a 25 million rupee ($340,000) crypto scam.

Umesh Verma, a former jeweler and greeting card maker, was held by the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi police at Indira Gandhi International Airport after flying in from Dubai, NDTV reports.

According to police, Verma and his son Bharat convinced hundreds of victims to invest in a scheme called Pluto Exchange, which offered monthly returns of 20% to 30%.

It issued customers a “cryptocurrency” called Coin Zarus in exchange for investments. However, Verma disappeared soon after it was rolled out in November 2017 and customers stopped receiving their interest. He later resurfaced in Dubai in 2018, where he launched an essential commodities business.

Delhi police charged Verma with misappropriation of funds in September 2020, leading to his arrest on Thursday night.


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