The Polokwane Hawks are investigating a case in which several investors laid charges against the CEO of a cryptocurrency company after he allegedly sent them fraudulent proof of payment via his company, VaultAge Solutions.
VaultAge Solutions, which started in 2018, trades in Bitcoin on behalf of its investors.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke said Willie Breedt was under investigation for fraud.
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One investor from Mookgophong, formerly known as Naboomspruit, in Limpopo told News24 that only after he threatened to take legal action against Breedt, did he receive a proof of payment (PoP) document indicating that R141 500 was paid into his account.
However, when the payment reflected in his account, he found that only R1 415 had been deposited.
He claimed the PoP document, which News24 has seen, was tampered with. This prompted him to report the matter to the Hawks.
Another investor, from the Western Cape who wanted to remain anonymous, had a similar experience. He only received R20 000 instead of the R2 million he was expecting. He also approached the Hawks.
Several other investors, including an administrator who worked closely with Breedt, handed affidavits over to the Hawks, Maluleke said.
In a written reply to News24, Breedt said he was aware of the criminal investigation against him but denied any wrongdoing.
Several more investors have since taken to social media to vent their frustrations.
A doctor from Pretoria said he invested R2 million but was yet to receive a cent.
In February, investors approached Breedt. To calm them down, he allegedly made them an offer. However, since then, no one has received any payments.
"We decided to rather fold, not hold," a frustrated investor said.
An investor from the Lowveld said he invested about R180 000 in November last year.
"In January, I pleaded with Breedt to refund my money."
"I eventually received a personal notice from Breedt to check my account as the R181 000 was paid over. I still haven't received anything," the investor alleged.
On 29 April, Breedt send an email to investors with a list of 168 people who he said would be paid within two or three days.
He said they "moved big amounts in Bitcoin" to ensure payments can be done.
However, only a few allegedly received five percent payments. An investor said: "(This is) sad, that is around $70 000 for me!"
In his response to News24, Breedt blamed a cryptocurrency payroll system for the problems.
He said there was "a technical issue that we are currently still experiencing" since November last year.