The market for initial placement of coins is saturated with fraudulent projects, which initially promise to “change the world”, but after receiving funding, they stop being in touch. There are, of course, those which simply are not able to fulfill their obligations, and the product for which the investors’ money was spent is not necessary for anyone. Some particularly brazen scammers removing their site, leave on it not quite censorship messages, as it was with the Lithuanian startup, which wanted to “bring the blockchain” into the vegetable and fruit industry.
In this article, we’ll talk about what you need to do in order to get your money back if you have already invested it in a fraudulent ICO.
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- Is it real to return your money if you’ve invested in a scam ICO?
- What to do in the beginning? Collect evidence
- Who to sue?
- What do you need to know about the court?
As practice shows, surely, there have been similar precedents in history, but to a greater extent they concern only the United States and Canada. For example, in 2017 on the initiative of the SEC, the founders of the scam project Munchen returned 15 million dollars to their depositors. Another example, the organizer of the cryptostart PlexCoin Dominic Lacroix was arrested, sentenced to 8 weeks of imprisonment, and fined personally for 10 thousand, and his company for 100 thousand dollars.
The Securities Commission is actively working in this field, but, unfortunately, outside of North America it is not yet particularly developed. For example, in the CIS countries no ICO scammers have been caught yet. But, despite this, there is still a chance to get your money back. Please read this material to know what to do in such an unpleasant situation.
So, unfortunately, you have already realized that you gave your money to criminals, what should you do? To begin with, you need to collect as much evidence as possible:
- screenshots of correspondence in Telegram or other messengers;
- copies of e-mails;
- white paper and road map of the project.
If you personally talked on the phone with the organizers of the ICO, then you need to contact the provider to give you a printout of your calls. If you have a personal contact in offline, you must specify the place, date and time of the meeting. If this happened in a public place, it is likely that the fraudster’s face has got into the surveillance cameras.
The overwhelming number of ICO projects has a similar structure. Often, in order to start the production and sale of digital tokens, the organizers register a special issuing company. As a rule, they are created in the Seychelles or the Cayman Islands or in Estonia and Singapore. Unfortunately, finding out data about an issuing company is a rather difficult task. The only place where you can find out which legal body is in charge of this project is an agreement to sell tokens or Token Sale Agreement.
But, it is worth noting that a registered issuing company cannot conduct operational activities, and it is even more complicated to find any information about who conducts it than about an issuing company. Of course, you can try to look for tracks through the project team, but if the organizers of the ICO have created a scam from the very beginning, then they hardly indicated their real names there. Most likely, charges will have to be raised against the issuing company.
The good news for victims of fraudulent ICO is that there are virtually no “loopholes” in the world where financial criminals can remain in the shadows. Banks from different countries of the world cooperate with each other and transmit information about the movement of money; therefore, to hide a large amount of stolen money every year becomes more difficult.
The bad news is that defrauded investors can demand financial compensation only through local courts of the countries in which the issuing company is registered. Litigation is not a cheap pleasure:
- Estonia – 7-8 thousand euros;
- The Cayman Islands – 30-50 thousand dollars;
- Singapore – 80-130 thousand dollars.
These figures do not include government fees and other related costs. In order for “battle to worth the blood,” the amount of lost funds must significantly exceed the costs associated with the court. An alternative way to save money in this matter is to file a collective claim. For this it is necessary to collect in one place a certain number of the same deceived investors and to divide the costs equally.
There are a lot of scam projects on the ICO market, so it’s quite difficult for an investor who is starting not to get bogged down by criminals. But even if you have become a victim of swindlers, albeit low, but still there are the chances of getting your investments back. It is necessary to adjust to a lengthy lawsuit, which will also require financial injections from your side.
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