Over 40 Indian investors are now counting their losses after a local cryptocurrency exchange allegedly took off with their funds. Operators of Pluto Exchange are reported to have made away with over $270,000 before shifting their offices from India to Dubai.
Pluto Exchange is now under investigation by the New Delhi Policeâ€™s Economic Offence Wing, a local outlet reports. This is after 43 investors filed a complaint with the authorities, alleging to have lost $272,000 to the exchange and its operators.
Pluto has been around since 2017 when most digital currencies hit their all-time highs. In December 2017, the exchange launched a mobile app for trading digital currencies, with many local outlets touting it as the first of its kind in India. Pluto reportedly enabled users to send digital currencies via mobile phone numbers, replacing the long and complex wallet addresses.
At the time, the exchangeâ€™s founder Bharat Verma called the app a game changer in the Indian market. However, now, heâ€™s one of the people accused of defrauding investors.
As one investor revealed to Millennium Post, Verma would meet up with the investors in person and lure them with promises of up to 30% in monthly gains. The investor, Joginder Kumar, further revealed that Verma and his co-conspirators also paid the investors for introducing their friends.
He told the outlet, â€œThe suspect told me he is doing business of crypto trading and crypto mining through his mining company F2poolminin and told me that if I brought more clients to his company he will give me a commission.â€
He ended up investing $6,800 in Pluto Exchange. Months later when he requested to withdraw his funds, Verma made up excuses as to why he couldnâ€™t.
â€œHe told me due to low rates of bitcoin and due to seized accounts, they are unable to return my funds through the bank, and so he told me to wait for a few more months.â€
Later on, when he became impatient and decided to visit the Pluto Exchange offices, he was shocked to find that the exchange had shifted its offices from New Delhi to Dubai.
Pluto Exchangeâ€™s Twitter account has been inactive for over two and a half years now, with their last post having been on February 5, 2018. Their website is also inaccessible.