Texan authorities take action to stop “Bitcoin Pope”

Maria Nikolova

Darwin Eric Balusek, who uses the nickname “Bitcoin Pope,” is among the respondents named in an Emergency Cease and Desist Order issued by Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles.

Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles has earlier this week entered an Emergency Cease and Desist Order against Forex Birds, LTD and PEK Universe for fraudulently offering online investments tied to forex and cryptocurrencies. The order also names Kumar Babu Bondesi and Darwin Eric Balusek – who uses the nickname “Bitcoin Pope.”

The respondents, operating from overseas, are accused of using online solicitations and other means of recruiting investors in the off-market programs. They are allegedly enticing investors with promises of significant returns – Forex Birds was telling investors it could earn an 11% return, with deposits fully insured up to $1 million. According to the order, Balusek was even telling investors they could earn 5% in profits after 24 hours for four days by investing with Forex Birds.

Forex Birds is accused of fraudulently touting its legitimacy to lure investors. It claimed to be regulated and registered with the “Europian and Investments Commission,” as well as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Saint Vincent Finance Service Authority. The order found the representations regarding registration were false. Forex Birds was not registered to deal in securities in Texas.

Pek Universe, the alleged promoter of cryptocurrency programs, was promising to earn daily profits for investors – up to 1.9% per day for 30 days. Inter alia, it is accused of using fraudulent photographs to depict its board of directors, a typical means employed by cryptocurrency scams to mislead investors about the credibility of the service offered.

Additionally, Pek Universe was not registered to deal in securities in Texas.

“Promoters of fraudulent schemes do not count on investors conducting meaningful due diligence,” said Commissioner Iles. “The fact is that due diligence my be the single most effective fraud-preventing measure for investors.”

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