- The CFTC has filed a complaint against the owners of a Tennessee real estate company for an alleged crypto pool scheme
- Over $6 million was reportedly obtained from more than 100 individuals, who were convinced to invest in the commodity pool
- The defendants falsely represented the safety of funds and misappropriated money for personal expenses, while making Ponzi-like payments to sustain the scheme
A Tennessee couple who operated a crypto investment scheme that preyed on its religious connections was a $6 million scam, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has revealed. Michael and Amanda Griffis scammed over 100 investors with their ‘Blessings of God Thru Crypto’ scam, which demanded a $12,000 down payment and promised outsides returns based on crypto price predictions. The pair even told victims, “No one is here to scam you” in their introductory messages.
$12,000 Buy In
The CFTC on Tuesday filed a complaint against The Griffis’, owners of a real estate company in Clarksville, Tennessee, accusing them of orchestrating the fraudulent scheme, with the pair starting out by reaching out to colleagues and customers of their real estate business and enticing them to pool funds for trading digital asset commodity futures contracts.
Despite lacking any trading or relevant experience, the defendants successfully convinced more than 100 people to invest over $6 million in a commodity pool named ‘Blessings of God Thru Crypto.’ Through false representations, the Griffis’ assured participants that their funds would be secure and were being managed by the defendants for high-profit gains.
“No One Is Here to Scam You”
They also claimed to use the funds for trading “crypto futures” on the “Apex Trading Platform” with guidance from an individual only identified as “Coach Wendy.” Leveraging personal and professional relationships from their real estate business, the defendants deceived victims into believing the pool scheme was legitimate. The messages stated that the marks had been “invited to this group because someone in this group holds you in high regards [sic]. There is no catch or hidden agenda.” To make things absolutely clear they added, “No one is here to scam you.”
However, instead of using the pool funds for trading, over $4 million was rapidly transferred to various digital wallets outside the defendants’ control, making recovery impossible. Additionally, approximately $1 million of the pool funds was misappropriated to settle debts and make personal purchases, including expensive jewelry and an all-terrain vehicle. To sustain the scheme, the remaining pool funds were used to issue Ponzi-like payments.
The CFTC has brought the charges but has warned that it might not be able to guarantee recovery due to the fact that the Griffis’ have spent or otherwise misappropriated the bulk of the funds.
This story should, if there were any doubt, be a reminder that if someone says “this definitely isn’t a scam” you should run a mile.