UK nabs a mastermind of €645 million international Ponzi scheme JuicyFields

The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has arrested a senior staff of the scam company behind “JuicyFields” – a notorious and elaborate Ponzi scheme.

Officers from the NCA, joined by Spanish police, arrested the unnamed 42 year-old man in Atherstone, Warwickshire. He was responsible for paying salaries to staff members and helped to legitimise the company by attending industry events.

In a subsequent search of his house, officers recovered a number of digital devices, which will now be forensically analysed. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 11 April for the commencement of extradition proceedings.

Investments in JuicyFields are reportedly amount to a staggering €645 million but the sum could be higher with the consideration of unreported damages.

The JuicyFields Ponzi scheme offered promising crowdsourcing investment opportunities in the cultivation, harvesting and distribution of medicinal cannabis. The scheme saw over 180,000 investors transfer funds.

From early 2020 to 2022, more than 500,000 individuals across dozens of countries were registered to JuicyFields websites.

In July 2022, the masterminds behind the scheme abruptly removed company profiles from social media networks and prevented users from logging into their accounts, thereby freezing cash withdrawals.

To probe JuicyFields, a joint investigation team at Eurojust, led by Spanish, German and French authorities, and supported by Europol, the NCA, and policing partners from multiple Member States was established.

On 11 April 2024, law enforcement across the continent arrested nine individuals and conducted over 30 house searches.

Ponzi Schemes are sophisticated forms of fraud that promise large profits with minimal risk. Running on an illegitimate business model, scammers use money from new investors to pay earlier investors, creating the illusion of a profitable enterprise. The scheme collapses when there aren’t enough new investors to sustain the pay-outs.

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