Crypto Gouv, a mysterious YouTuber specializing in cryptocurrencies, scammed between 200 and 300 Internet users. The scammer disappeared with a loot of 4 million euros. While the victims set out to find the true identity of the thief, an investigation was opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office.
In mid-July, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the Crypto Gov YouTube channel, report our colleagues from France Inter. About forty complaints have been filed against the Youtubeur, whose true identity is unknown.
In the space of a few months, the videographer had managed to federate a community of 4,000 Internet users. Like many Youtubers, he took advantage of the enthusiasm generated by the rise in the price of cryptocurrencies. On private Discord and Telegram groups, the scammer provided free investment advice and market analysis. He also published trading recommendations.
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The Crypto Gov Scam
Quickly, Crypto Gouv offered its community to pool their investments. Over time, he managed to convince between 200 and 300 people to entrust him with their money. To lure his victims, the YouTuber promised very high capital gains, despite the recent decline in the cryptocurrency market.
In detail, Crypto Gouv has created several communities based on the proposed investments. The videographer notably launched a group dedicated to non-fungible tokens (NFT), the Play-to-earn application StepN, and cryptocurrency trading. To gain the trust of subscribers, he also created a company in the United Kingdom.
” Investors have placed a hundred euros, others several tens of thousands of euros. In a very short time, many investment groups and projects have been set up by Crypto Gov “Explains Maître Jérémy Asta-Vola, the lawyer for four plaintiffs, interviewed by France Inter.
This is where the trap closes on Internet users. After recovering funds from its community, Crypto Gouv packed up. In a video posted on YouTube on July 9, 2022, he reveals the existence of the scam. Without the slightest remorse, the scammer even explains behind the scenes to its subscribers, now aware of having been manipulated for months.
“It’s as if you had entrusted a sum to a financial investment adviser and that he simply left with your money. There is a mass audience that is interested in these practices. Inevitably, some malicious people see it as an opportunity. This type of scam is on the increase,” warns Master Jérémy Asta-Vola.
To poke fun, Crypto Gouv even wrote a complete tutorial of the scam on its Telegram and Discord groups. He explains, for example, that he bought hundreds of certified accounts, with identity cards or passports, on cryptocurrency exchange platforms, such as FTX, Binance or KuCoin. Crypto Govt specifies having protect their identity with a VPN and a proxy server.
In the video, now deleted from YouTube, Crypto Gouv even specifies being aware of risk up to five years in prison. The Youtubeur then passed out in the wild with a jackpot of 4 million euros.
The hunt for Crypto Gov
Victims of Crypto Gov quickly organized to help each other and get their money back. A Discord server has been created to list all information relating to the case. In the process, a website was set up to facilitate the filing of complaints.
At the same time, some subscribers have started looking for the true identity of Crypto Gov. During his exchanges with the community, the scammer had allegedly revealed his name to reassure his victims. Photos of his identity card in support, he claimed to be called Romain Fournier.
— Nicolas Vivant (@NicolasVivant) August 1, 2022
Note that Crypto Gouv only used photos froma bank of royalty-free images. By carrying out a reverse search, we find the trace of the photos on Depositphotos.
Based on this information, many Internet users came into contact with an individual called Romain Fournier on social networks. The man bears a slight resemblance to the person seen in the photos. It was a false lead. As he explains on his Twitter account, the date and place of birth on Crypto Gov’s ID are different from his. The Internet user explains that he was the victim of identity theft.
Very well prepared, Crypto Gov had apparently used a fake identity card. With this dummy coin, he tried to open a company in France, probably with the aim of duping his victims. The French authorities realized the deception and the request was rejected. Furthermore, all the addresses provided by Crypto Gouv turned out to be fake. They correspond to mailboxes located in Paris. The scammer took the time to cover his tracks.
Above all, Crypto Gov would have convert all stolen funds to Monero, an anonymous collateralized cryptocurrency. This conversion prevents assets from being tracked on the blockchain. On the Monero blockchain, we cannot identify the person who sent the money, nor the address receiving the funds, nor the amounts exchanged. The network is completely opaque.
Cryptocurrency scams of this ilk are not uncommon. Recently, the manager of Tradex Asset Management, a Spanish trading club, set sail with an estimated jackpot of 4 million euros. According to the Iberian press, it was a completely classic Ponzi scheme. This type of scam consists in trapping investors by remunerating them with the money injected by new victims.