Helena Lyng Blak
5 weeks ago

Nine Arrested in €645 Million Cannabis Scam Case

In a stunning crackdown, Europol has apprehended nine individuals linked to a colossal €645 million cannabis investment fraud.
H_Ko / Shutterstock.com
H_Ko / Shutterstock.com

On Friday, Europol announced that they had arrested nine suspects in relation to the ‘JuicyFields’ investment fraud case.

Over 400 law enforcement officers in 11 countries contributed on April 11 to executing the nine arrest warrants.

JuicyFields’ “Too Good To Be True” Ponzi Scheme

Europol has named the case a “classic ‘too good to be true’ Ponzi scheme”. In such schemes, returns are paid to earlier investors using the capital of new investors, creating a deceptive appearance of a profitable business.

The scheme started in 2020, when a website of the name JuicyFields launched.

Through JuicyFields’ website, investors could ‘buy’ cannabis plants and would receive returns on their investments as crops were sold.

The investors, dubbed ‘e-growers’, would invest in the supposed plants via either cryptocurrency or through banks in nations with relatively lax regulations, Le Monde reports.

According to the newspaper, the ‘e-growers’ were partially lured into investment through promises of the product being used with altruistic aspirations, such as providing therapeutic aid for neurodivergent people.

For a while, JuicyFields kept up the alleged act. The company maintained a high profile, appearing at industry events with Lamborghinis sporting the company’s logo and consistently communicated with investors, even delivering the promised payouts for some time.

But in early 2022, several national authorities were beginning to investigate the site. In July of that year, all accounts suddenly froze, and staff went on strike for allegedly not receiving their pay.

Panic among investors ensued, but soon the site came back on with a so-called ‘rescue plan’ for the company and the promise of a ‘2.0’ launch in the near future. Only that never happened.

€645 Million in Damages

Following numerous police reports all over Europe, Europol initiated a coordinated approach for investigations, which involved both EU and non-EU countries. 

According to estimates, the total damages in the case surmounted to at least €645 million, with around 550,000 victims.

The suspects, including a Russian national believed to be one of the main organizers, vary in nationality, highlighting the international nature of this scheme. They include Dutch, German, Italian, Latvian, Maltese, Polish, Jordanian, American, and Venezuelan individuals.


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