Australian electronic transfer company Technocash has closed its accounts after being named by US corporate regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, as a recipient of funds from a Ponzi scheme which is believed to have ripped investors off to the tune of $US75 million ($81.6m) to $US100m worldwide.
The Australian reports Technocash has been accused of holding, through Westpac Bank accounts, $US36.9m in funds derived from criminal activities including drugs, identity fraud and child pornography.
The Ponzi scheme was known as Profitable Sunrise and offered investors interest returns of 1.6% per cent and 2.7% per business day.
Court documents filed by the SEC on April 15 to obtain a freezing order over Profitable Sunrise assets claim those recruiting others to the scheme stressed its Christian ethic.
Technocash’s involvement came as it acts as an agent for cross-border payments between businesses and individuals which want to change and deal in multiple currencies.
The company confirmed its accounts did include payments labelled Profitable Sunrise.
Technocash’s website offers to centralise payments in a streamlined account with the capability to hold over a dozen currencies in the one online account.
These currencies include the controversial electronic currency Bitcoin.
But now the website states: “Customer Update: Technocash is no longer receiving deposits and we have closed our current money moving business pending a business model review.”
The Australian Federal Police told SmartCompany it was liaising with its US counterparts on the matter.
But the AFP would not confirm reports it has frozen millions held in Technocash accounts.
“As this related to a mutual assistance request it would not be appropriate for the AFP to comment,” a spokesperson for the AFP said
Paul Monsted, managing director of Technocash, told SmartCompany the company closed the accounts of its own accord.
“Technocash had not been alerted to an investigation by the United States SEC,” he says.
“Technocash never had an account in the name of Profitable Sunrise. When we detected payments referring to ‘profitable sunrise’ we conducted due diligence enquires and closed the account in question in December 2012.”
Monsted would not confirm whether the account was frozen.
“Our actions in this case [are] an example of our pro-active compliance regime.”