On January 12th, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that victims of the BitConnect Ponzi scheme will be receiving $17 million in restitution money.
The funds will be distributed to 800 individuals in 40 countries, as ordered by a federal court in San Diego, California.
BitConnect was in operation from 2016 to 2018 and was widely recognized as a Ponzi scheme. Its founders and associates have been charged with and found guilty of various crimes, including fraud.
The value of the project’s associated cryptocurrency token collapsed shortly after the project shut down.
The project was restricted by various jurisdictions, including the U.K., Texas, and North Carolina.
However, due to its distributed structure and lack of central leadership, some developments around the project continued even after it was shut down.
Victims have had to wait years for compensation. In November 2021, the DOJ seized $56 million worth of cryptocurrency with the intention of selling it and providing restitution to victims.
The $56 million in crypto funds would now be worth roughly $17 million due to market variations, but the DOJ has not stated exactly when they sold the seized crypto for cash.
It’s worth noting that the $17 million that is set to be returned to victims accounts for only part of BitConnect’s value, as it was seized from Arcaro personally.
BitConnect itself obtained $2.4 billion from investors, according to a DOJ statement in early 2022.