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South African Police Arrests Two for Alleged $2 Million Crypto Fraud

A special South African police unit has arrested Zain Muhammed Valle and Michelle Bianca Bezuidenhout over an alleged crypto scam worth about $2 million.

By Staff

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South African local media on Wednesday reported that a special South African task force known as The Hawks, has arrested 57-year-old Zain Muhammed Valle and 25-year-old Michelle Bianca Bezuidenhout for an alleged R34 million (Approx. $2.1 million) cryptocurrency scam. 

The investigation now includes two suspects as well as Bezuidenhout’s husband, Jarrod De Lange, 32, who was arrested in 2020 for alleged involvement in the scam. According to the police investigation, Valle introduced the victim to De Lange for a business partnership.

According to Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu, the suspects duped the victim into committing funds to a fake cryptocurrency company called Siyakhula Logistics Pty(LTD) in February 2020. 

Mulamu also stated that the suspects promised the complainant large returns on their investments.

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The victim agreed to invest, transferring approximately ($2.1M) into the establishment as well as Bezuidenhout’s bank accounts in separate transactions, according to the spokesperson.

He also explained that rather than investing the money in the crypto establishment, the suspects used it for Liverage Trading company without informing the investor.

Valle and Bezuidenhout, who were reportedly detained at their homes in Lenasia and Alberton, were brought before the Lenasia Regional Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday. On July 19, they will appear in court after being accused of fraud and money laundering.

Valle and Bezuidenhout were given bail at R10,000 while De Lange is currently free on bail for  R20,000.

As cryptocurrency continues to gain popularity in South Africa and Africa as a whole, people are urged to remain vigilant and exercise due diligence as bad actors have begun to use cryptocurrency as a tool to conduct a variety of illicit acts. 


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