Not that old! 66-year old Russian woman charged with cryptocurrency fraud

Maria Nikolova

The woman organized a cryptocurrency seminar and solicited RUB 31,000 from each participant.

Whereas regulators across the world are battling with scams that target elderly people, a 66-year old woman from Russia’s city of Novosibirsk, has actually become a cryptocurrency criminal.

The local police department has completed its investigation into the fraudulent activities of the woman. The probe has shown that she presented herself as a representative of an international company and organized a seminar in the town of Biysk. The aim of the event was to “teach the public how to benefit from cryptocurrencies”. Every participant in the seminar had to give the fraudster RUB 31,000 in order to have the unique opportunity to generate returns from cryptocurrencies. After getting the cash of several victims, the 66-year old scam mastermind spend the money as she wished, that is, to satisfy her personal cravings.

The case materials have been transferred to the Court.

Russia’s authorities have been very skeptical with regard to cryptocurrencies. The Central Bank of Russia has warned several times about the risks associated with investments in Bitcoin and its likes, as well as about the risks associated with initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The cryptocurrency segment is not regulated in Russia, although there are plans in this respect. On March 20, 2018, the Russian Ministry of Finance filed its cryptocurrency bill, entitled “On Digital Financial Assets”, with the Duma – the lower chamber of the Russian parliament. The document aims to fit cryptocurrencies, tokens, mining and related operations in the Russian legal system.

The bill states that owners of digital financial assets have the right to exchange tokens for rubles and foreign currency only via certain entities – operators of digital financial asset exchanges. These operators are the business entities licensed under the “Securities Market” law – brokers, dealers, etc.

The bill defines cryptocurrencies as financial assets, created via a distributed ledger in line with the rules for maintaining a register of digital transactions. The bill notes that cryptocurrencies and tokens are not payment means in Russia.

Let’s note that the bill includes certain provisions aimed at securing investor protection. Thus. For example, the Bank of Russia will set a maximum sum that may be paid by non-experts (i.e., retail investors) to acquire tokens in an ICO.

The bill, however, does not propose any penalties for those who commit cryptocurrency fraud. It is possible that these will be outlined in other documents.

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