$4.7 billion of Bitcoin still missing in alleged mass fraud

A fortune in Bitcoin has disappeared… along with two brothers who operate a cryptocurrency investment platform based out of South Africa.

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Two figures run up steps to three bitcoin moneybags at the top

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US$3.6 billion (AU$4.7 billion) of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) is still AWOL.

This comes after Ameer and Raees Cajee (I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on the irony of their last name.) allegedly disappeared with the fortune in Bitcoin.

The brothers operated Africrypt, a cryptocurrency investment platform based out of South Africa, since in 2019.

In April, they told clients that their platform had been hacked, and urged them not to contact authorities as that would complicate attempts to retrieve the missing Bitcoin.

Brothers not answering family or clients

Despite efforts by authorities to locate the pair to date, including attempting to track any of the missing Bitcoin that may be exchanged for fiat currencies, the brothers’ whereabouts – as well as the fate of the $4.7 billion worth of digital tokens – remains unknown.

As Bloomberg reports, “It’s still hard to establish the whereabouts of Ameer and Raees Cajee… They appear to have vanished, along with an estimated [US]$3.6 billion in Bitcoin.”

The Cajee’s lawyer, John Oosthuizen, said the brothers “categorically denied” stealing the crypto, insisting they were the victims of an April hack. A cyber breach they never reported to police. The lawyer also suggested the amount of the missing funds has been exaggerated.

At the end of the day, regardless of how the fortune in Bitcoin disappeared, real people are smarting from the losses.

Attorney Gerhard Botha, working on behalf of some of Africrypt’s customers said, “There were rich people, without a doubt,” Botha said. “And people that invested their parents’ pension funds.”

Yet another handy reminder never to invest money into cryptos you can’t afford to lose.

Bitcoin price gaining today

It’s unclear what Bitcoin price was used to come up with the US$3.6 billion sum for the missing funds.

Whatever price was used, whoever has their virtual hands on those Bitcoin has seen the value of their stolen hoard increase 4% over the past 24 hours.

At the time of writing, one Bitcoin is worth US$34,345. That’s after hitting a low over the past 24 hours of US$32,385.

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The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended Bitcoin. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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