Learn how a “crypto cult” operated in Spain: a pyramid scam that promised young people to make them millionaires

Learn how a "crypto cult" operated in Spain: a pyramid scam that promised young people to make them millionaires

Learn how a "crypto cult" operated in Spain: a pyramid scam that promised young people to make them millionaires By DailyBitcoin Editor

8 of the members of the group that defrauded some 2,500 young people in Spain, in what seemed like a “crypto sect”, have already been arrested.


Crypto scams are always acting in various ways. They almost always use trickery and manipulation strategies under the promise of making people millionaires overnight. As many of these strategies are already recognized, these criminal groups seek new means. In Spain, one was discovered that affected at least 2,500 young people in the country, who were offered alleged courses that were nothing more than the beginning of a pyramid scheme, as published by Spanish media.

The country reports that last week agents of the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) eight people were arrested as members of IM Mastery Academy, a company that allegedly defrauded thousands of young people with virtual courses on cryptocurrencies and high-risk financial transactions, including some boys and girls under the age of 15.

It is worth noting that the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) had issued in November 2020 a warning that this “academy” was not authorized to provide services of a financial nature in the country.

According to the media, the victims were captured through social networks, such as Instagram, but also by addressing them directly in public places, such as parks. They also held mass events in hotels and other spaces where they were invited to join a movement that would allow them to forget about working life and achieve “Financial Freedom”.

To do this, the police said in a press release, they used “techniques of persuasion typical of sectarian organizations”.

Sects, which instead of religion, used money as a slogan.

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Table of Contents

Operation Woodworm

Bill The country that the call Operation Woodworm -with which they dismantled the alleged scam- began in March of last year when the police received a complaint from the Sectarian Prevention and Abuse of Weakness Network (RedUNE)which complained about the allegedly irregular activities of IM Mastery Academy.

This company had started in 2019 in Barcelona, ​​but was already operating throughout Spain.

The police investigation found that IM Mastery Academy It offered virtual courses to young people to learn how to invest in cryptocurrencies and other high-risk financial products, some of them not allowed in Spain and the EU, with the promise of being able to make large profits without working.

The members of the project showed on social networks a life full of luxury, supposedly obtained thanks to the courses, in order to more easily deceive young people.

It says The country that the alleged leader of the plot, IBL, presumed in networks to be responsible for the direct or indirect capture of more than 2,500 people, although the researchers have not been able to specify the number of those affected so far, which could be many more.

like a sect

According to media reports, the courses were actually recorded virtual classes, with poor quality content, through which, among other high-risk financial practices, the buying and selling of binary options (products that allow investment in the rise or fall of currencies, materials or stock indices) and operations with leverage (indebtedness) with cryptocurrencies.

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What happened later was worse: once the young people had paid the 200 euros of tuition and signed the commitment to pay another 150 euros a month, teaching took a backseat and the network began to pressure the victims to convince people in their family and school environment to also enroll.

In fact, the organization trained them and told them how to capture more victims. “This is how a pyramid scheme began, since those who recruited two other people stopped paying the monthly fee. And if there were three and they managed to capture other people, they began to charge from the network”, El Pais tells.

take advantage of naivety

The boys were very young, even minors, many with a basic level of education or little financial training. “To some of them, the plot He pressured them with techniques typical of sects so that they would fully devote themselves to the activity of attracting new victims.. To do this, they urged them to abandon their studies and even cut off their family relationships,” it says The country.

Police sources told that medium that “In the trickery phase, they tried to convince them not to tell more mature people, like their parents, about what they were doing to prevent them from detecting the deception.”

For example, he says that two adolescents captured when they were 17 years old came to leave their homes to go live with members of the organization. In the complaint that launched the investigation, two parents indicated that their son had stopped eating and that he slept in a car due to lack of money, “But the academy always paid.”

Daughter of another scam

As revealed by the investigations, IM Mastery Academy was the successor of another company, imarketslive, on which a warning from the CNMV fell. Before, in 2018, the stock market authorities of the United Kingdom, France and Belgium had given alerts.

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Also, it is said that the leader of this project had contacts with the creators of Awaken Dreamers (Awake Dreamers), a self-styled “social movement of entrepreneurs” emerged in the US in which he allegedly was inspired for his scam.

At the end of last year, the Spanish National Police reported that there was a wave of crypto scams in the country. It is important to be aware of the topic and recognize how many of these scams operate.

More data here:

Sources: The country, The newspaper, archive

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WARNING: This is an informative article. DiarioBitcoin is a means of communication, it does not promote, endorse or recommend any investment in particular. It is worth noting that investments in crypto assets are not regulated in some countries. May not be suitable for retail investors as the full amount invested could be lost. Check the laws of your country before investing.

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