9 arrests in EUR 645 million JuicyFields investment scam case

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9 arrests in EUR 645 million JuicyFields investment scam case

A joint investigation conducted by several European law enforcement authorities, supported by Europol and Eurojust, has culminated in the arrest of 9 suspects following the notorious “JuicyFields” investment fraud case.

On an action day carried out on 11 April 2024, over 400 law enforcement officers in 11 countries executed 9 arrest warrants and conducted 38 house searches. During the investigation and action day, EUR 4 700 000 in bank accounts, EUR 1 515 000 in cryptocurrencies, EUR 106 000 in cash and EUR 2 600 000 in real estate assets were seized or frozen.

Law enforcement also seized several luxury vehicles, works of art, cash and various luxury items, as well as large numbers of electronic devices and documents.

According to judicial estimates, the total damages resulting from fake investments in the advertised cannabis cultivation crowdsourcing platform amount to a staggering EUR 645 million, but actual and unreported damages could be significantly higher.

In total, an estimated 550 000 participants worldwide, most of them European citizens, were registered as online investors. Using bank transfers or cryptocurrencies, around 186 000 participants actually transferred funds into the elaborate Ponzi scheme active from early 2020 to July 2022.

The suspects, of mainly Russian but also Dutch, German, Italian, Latvian, Maltese, Polish, Jordanian, United States and Venezuelan nationality, used advertisements on social networks to lure victims to their websites.

These platforms offered promising crowdsourcing investment opportunities in the cultivation, harvesting and distribution of cannabis plants to be used for medicinal purposes.

With a minimum initial investment of at least EUR 50 in this so-called ‘e-growing’ opportunity, investors were promised to be linked with producers of medical cannabis.

Upon the purchase of a cannabis plant, the platform assured investors – also referred to as e-growers – they could soon collect high profits from the sale of marijuana to authorised buyers. While the company pledged annual returns of 100 percent or more, they did not reveal exactly how they would accomplish this, let alone be able to guarantee it.