A High Court summons, seen by MyBroadband, has been issued to three people involved with BTC Global – Clynton Marks, Cheri Marks, and Andrew Caw.
This followed a civil claim lodged by eighteen plaintiffs demanding compensation of R2.5 million plus 7% interest per annum from the date of demand for the losses they suffered in 2018.
They also asked the court for “further and alternative relief” and for the court to order the three defendants to cover the legal costs of the plaintiffs.
“The defendants have since approximately 4 September 2017 until approximately March 2018 conducted business under the names and style of BTC Global or BTC,” the plaintiffs alleged.
BTC Global was a Bitcoin investment scam that ran from mid-2017 to early 2018. It claimed to offer clients a way to invest in a trading pool managed by a “master trader”, Steven Twain.
There is no evidence that Twain ever existed, but when investors started struggling to withdraw their funds from the scheme they were informed that Twain was attacked in his home and his equipment stolen.
The collapse of BTC Global was blamed on Twain’s disappearance at the start of 2018.
According to reports, over 27,000 people were scammed by BTC Global, including South Africans, Americans, and Australians.
This prompted an investigation by the Hawks, but three years later the elite investigation unit has yet to show any results.
In a legal notice signed by Selzer Law attorneys, which MyBroadband has seen, Caw and the Marks’ state their intention to defend against the BTC Global allegations.
Two people named in the summons over BTC Global – Clynton Marks and Cheri Marks – are closely linked to the multitlevel marketing Bitcoin investment scam Mirror Trading International (MTI).
Chainalysis declared MTI the biggest cryptocurrency scam of 2020 in its latest Crypto Crime Report, released earlier this year.
Clynton Marks is a 50% shareholder in MTI. His partner, Cheri Marks, was the scheme’s head of communications.
Aside from the Marks’ involvement, along with other people who were also involved in both MTI and BTC Global, the two schemes share striking similarities.
Much like MTI, BTC Global promised too-good-to-be-true returns on investment. It also used a multilevel marketing scheme to rapidly recruit new members.
BTC Global had a master trader managing the pooled funds, while MTI claimed to have a magical AI-powered trading bot that could deliver consistent returns of 0.5% to 1.5% per day.
When the money finally dried up, MTI’s purported founder and CEO Johann Steynberg vanished, apparently while travelling in South America.
Steynberg last communicated with MTI members from Brazil and he is currently suspected to be in Panama, though his whereabouts are unknown.
MyBroadband contacted the Marks’ and Caw for comment, but the three defendants did not respond by the time of publication.
However, Caw previously told MyBroadband that he invested in BTC Global and lost a significant sum when it collapsed.
“I was, however, neither a founder nor leader in BTC Global, although I was later accused of being both,” Caw stated.
“After the collapse of BTC Global I revisited all of the investments, businesses, and opportunities I had seen and after considering the feasibility of all programs it became obvious that the best investment anyone I knew had ever made was simply buying and holding Bitcoin,” Caw stated.
Caw said that he was not involved in MTI, except for offering a single proposal early on that he said would enable MTI to deliver cryptographic proof of its Bitcoin holdings.
Cheri Marks has denied owning or being in control of BTC Global, stealing funds through the scheme, setting up fake profiles for Steven Twain, or knowingly promoting anything illegal.
“Steven Twain is a real person and his disappearance was a shock,” Marks said via her lawyer in a response to questions from Carte Blanche.
“It is denied that Cheri was/is Steven Twain,” the statement continued.
“In January 2018, before BTC Global stopped operating, the bitcoin price fell dramatically and there was a well-documented market crash,” Marks’ lawyer stated.
“It is suspected that this led to its demise. Cheri was linked to BTC Global in the public domain and that destroyed her reputation in the industry. She decided to pursue a conventional business like MTI which had a visible and present CEO and where one could witness actual trades. BTC Global and MTI are thus erroneously being linked.”
Marks also said that Steynberg was never involved in BTC Global.
“He did, like many networkers, come from a list of network marketing companies, some legitimate, some later proved to be scams. The two opportunities were completely different and trying to draw similarities is a stretch.”
Information from others who were involved with BTC Global contradicts Marks’ statement that Steynberg was not involved with the scheme.
MyBroadband spoke to a witness who said that although Steynberg was not a leader in BTC Global, he had invested in the scheme.
The witness provided MyBroadband with Steynberg’s BTC Global membership numbers.