SOUTH AFRICAN TRADING SCAMS
This page will focus on trading scams which have been run using Bitcoin as the preferred method of payment.
LOVE AND LET LIVE
Firstly we will deal with a company which started in 2015, Love and Let Live. This scam did not start as a Bitcoin platform, but one that took deposits in Rands into a South African Bank account which was later frozen after the company was reported to the FSCA. Willem Theron promised monthly returns of 7 or 8% to his investors.
The owner of the business, Willem Theron aka Ariel Theron then moved the money into bitcoin for his trading.
His wallet was then “Hacked”, the money stolen and he fled the country.
Apparently he is living in Peru, however he might be trading via a company in Ireland.
The investors took the case to court to have the assets, accumulated from the proceeds of this crime, liquidated.
Ariel Theron wrote a letter to investors apologising for his mistakes and asking for forgiveness.
BTC GLOBAL . TEAM
So how did it all fit together? Lets run through the details..
Steven Twain is our primary trader, he has access to the latest trading tools to help maximize returns on his Binary, forex & commodities trading through an exclusive business partnership.
Using these cutting edge tools and extensive experience he’s able to consistently win in a market that crushes most newcomers.
There is a LOT of money to be made in binary trading if you know what you’re doing, have the right tools & more importantly have the right personality and level of self control to stick to your rules consistently.
Steven has had consistent positive returns for 6 years now, in fact at one point he was able to pay out 40% to his largest investors weekly & still make a profit for himself!”
BTC Global is the marketing arm of Steven’s Trading business. That group negotiated an amazing deal with Steven to get access to his trading services for as little as a $1000 initial bitcoin deposit & to also setup a referral system to pay out commissions when people share BTC Global with others.
BTC Global maintains the back office software and tracking systems but does not directly handle the money invested. All funds are paid directly to & from Steven in Bitcoin.
BTC Global (Steven Twain) guarantees 14% per week on US Dollar value of your deposits
Invested Capital can be returned within 8-14 Days of request for payout being processed.
BTC Global accept deposits in Bitcoin & pays returns in Bitcoin to allow for a truly global business!
All investments are converted to US Dollars & returns are calculated on the US Dollar amount invested.”
How the Investment Fund Works
The investment is actually paid in Bitcoin at the exchange rate on the date relevant to $1000 or the amount being sent. The funds are reflected in the member’s back office in US$. Returns are based on the US$ amount invested and when paid out is converted back to Bitcoin at the days rate of exchange and paid to the member’s external Bitcoin wallet.
This “Company” as it is promoted is not registered here in South Africa and thus cannot be registered with the financial services board or be complying with any exchange control regulations.
The Wallet Service provider, Luno, seems to be the wallet of choice. This is clearly due to its ease of use as it is linked to 4 major South African banks. The investors are predominantly South African so it is very necessary to maintain an easy route for members to buy Bitcoin.
The strategy promoted by the owners of the scheme is reinvestment for the first the first 8 weeks.
Promoting, recruiting and rewards.
In order to ensure continued growth, the scheme rewards members for recruiting new people. Below is the “commission” structure offered.
Initially the commissions were as follows :
There are TWO ways to earn in BTC Global.
- RETURNS on Investment
This is very simply calculated at 14% of the dollar amount you invested weekly paid in BTC.
- Team Shares or Commissions
This is earned MONTHLY on the people you recruit or refer.
When you have 5 people front line (on your level 1) you get 4% paid monthly on their collective investment.
To qualify for the next levels see below;
- Level 2 is 4 % and you need 15 people front line
- Level 3 is 3% and you need 30 people front line
- Level 4 is 1% and you need 70 people front line
- Level 5 is 0,5% and you need 100 people front line
**Remember all payments are calculated in US DOLLARS and PAID in BITCOIN. So amounts paid are varied due to BTC price fluctuations but DOLLAR payout is constant according to the above info.
Note that you can only earn referral commission if you are active with a minimum of $1000 invested.
Then in December 2017 the commission structure was changed. This is very often a sign of a cash flow problem.
For each new investment and or reinvestment made by a member of your team, you will receive a once off commission as follows;
- Level 1 – 2%
- Level 2 – 2%
- Level 3 – 1%
- Level 4 – 0.5%
- Level 5 – 0.25%
Commissions are released directly into your active investments within 24 hours after the month end cut-off.
For a member to be able to earn commissions from their team deposits and or reinvestments, you as the team leader need to have a minimum number of personal recruits as well as a personal active investment. The following table defines how many personal recruits are required by the team leader to unfreeze commissions;
- Level 1 – 5 Personal Referrals
- Level 2 – 15 Personal Referrals
- Level 3 – 30 Personal Referrals
- Level 4 – 50 Personal Referrals
- Level 5 – 100 Personal Referrals
Freezing of commissions
As members of your team make deposits and or reinvestment a commission record is created on your profile, should you not qualify for such commission/s, the system will automatically freeze the commission until such time you have met the minimum qualification to receive them.
As soon as you have reached the minimum required personal referrals our support team will automatically unfreeze your commissions and thus making them visible to you.
Payment of commissions
On the last Monday of the month all your unfrozen commissions will be transferred into your total active investment as an investment, you may then request a withdrawal against your capital balance by creating a case through the member portal.
Should you choose not to withdraw commission from your capital, then your commission will earn 2% per day for as long as your total active capital remains in trade.
Unclaimed commissions are commissions that are in a frozen state because you have not yet qualified for these commissions and are only released to you once you qualify. Once the commissions are release (unfrozen) they will reflect on your dashboard and then at month end be transferred into your Active Investments as an investment.
The truth is….
BTC Global was created in July 2017. Originally called BTC Financials and BTC Investment Hub, it evolved into BTC Global being the brainchild of Clynton Marks and Russel C Jerrard, who together came up with “network” marketing of this scam. The original website, BTC Financials was removed by authorities early in August 2017 however the rebranding and creation of BTCG was well underway by this date. In fact the Portal and new website were nicely lined up and timed for the untimely demise of the BTC Financials website.
The entire BTCG system, both front and back end were designed and built here in South Africa, launched and led by the team that owned it. Andrew Caw controlled the Portal together with Cheri Ward, she too did all the marketing and the bulk recruiting was lead by Clynton and Madelyn Roose.
This system was a Ponzi. There has never been any proof of life of Steven Twain and thus nothing to back up the story about this “God of Wall Street”.
The case was reported to the authorities in October 2017 and again in January 2018 when a formal investigation was opened. This investigation is ongoing and statements can still be submitted to The Hawks, Serious Economic Offences Unit in Pretoria, South Africa.
Brigadier RM Makinyane
Section Head: Serious Economic Offences Unit
Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation
Tel: (012) 338 7501
Fax: (012) 338 7502
Email address : MakinyaneM@saps.gov.za
Office of the Head: Serious Commercial Crime
Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation
1 Cresswell Road, Weavind Park, Silverton 0127
Tel: 012 846 4101 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please email EngelbrechtRene@saps.gov.za
Read a more in-depth review on our blog
CLYNTON MARKS & CHERI WARD MARKS
RUSSEL C JERRARD
Accurate images of the above 5 are difficult to find as they are normally heavily edited.
BITCOIN WALLETS LADYSMITH
Bitcoin Wallets seems to date back to around April 2019 or thereabouts. The scheme promised 100% profit within 15 working days, an impossible task for any “Trader”. Messages were sent on What’s App randomly introducing the scam just by giving out details of the trader by name and his cell number.
Two such messages were received by one of the team. in amongst the myriad of spam messages received on a daily basis, many being for donation exchanges, they were ignored.
What is alarming is that this Ponzi was being run under the noses of the authorities in Ladysmith South Africa, who appear to have not done much to stop it when it started.
The “Red Flag” of people queueing to hand over money to an individual or individuals who do not have the required licences to be taking deposits should have immediately caused the police and officials to look into what was going on.
It was only in or around the beginning of June that the media started exposing what was going on in Ladysmith.
The FSCA then released a statement declaring the registration certificates as fake warning that this “Trader” Sphelele ‘Sgumza’ Mbatha was not licensed.