CFTC Takes Action Against Debiex in $2.3 Mln Romance Crypto Scam

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Key Takeaways

  •  CFTC asserts that Debiex managed to siphon over $2 million through this intricate scheme.
  •  CFTC has identified five victims over two years

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has launched legal proceedings against crypto platform Debiex, exposing a sophisticated romance fraud scheme that led to the misappropriation of $2.3 million, predominantly from Asian American victims. 

The CFTC’s statement on Friday revealed how the crypto platform allegedly engaged in a deceptive online romance scam, manipulating victims’ trust and diverting funds.

Debiex staff are accused of employing misleading tactics, creating false impressions, and fostering friendly or romantic relationships to persuade potential customers to open accounts with the crypto exchange. Despite identifying only five victims over a two-year period, the CFTC asserts that Debiex managed to siphon over $2 million through this intricate scheme.

In response, the CFTC’s legal action seeks a comprehensive set of remedies, including restitution for defrauded customers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, trading bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations. 

Debiex had assured its customers that their funds would be invested in cryptocurrencies; however, the complaint alleges that these funds were misappropriated for personal gain.

The intersection of romance scams with the crypto world has become a recurring concern. Back in February 2022, the FBI issued a warning about the growing number of romance scammers persuading individuals to send money for crypto investments. 

Notably, a similar intersection unfolded in a case involving Binance, where a Texas woman claimed the exchange was implicated in a scam that saw her lose $8 million to a man she met on Tinder. The woman, Gadasalli, asserted that Bulasa convinced her to transfer millions in what turned out to be part of a scheme known as “pig butchering.” However, in May 2023, a court ruled that there was no evidence implicating Binance Holdings Ltd. in aiding and abetting the theft.

Highlighting the broader issue of scams in the crypto space, a recent report by the security app DeFi unveiled that crypto users lost nearly $2 billion to scams, rug pulls, and hacks in 2023.

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Saniya Raahath
Saniya Raahath

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