The former BitConnect Australian national promoter has been charged by ASIC for operating an unregistered investment scheme and making false statements.
John Bigatton promoted the online cryptocurrency platform prior to its collapse in early 2018.
It is estimated that BitConnect had a market capitalisation of over US$2.5 billion in December 2017; money that had been sourced from mum and dad investors.
Bigatton has been charged with one count of operating an unregistered managed investment scheme, one count of providing unlicensed financial services on behalf of another person and four counts of making false or misleading statements effecting market participation.
If found guilty, Bigatton could face hefty fines and possibly imprisonment.
Operating an unregistered investment scheme carried a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and/or a fine of $42,000.
Providing unlicensed financial services carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and/or a fine of $42,000.
Lastly, making a false or misleading statement effecting market participation carries a maximum penalty, for each charge, of 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $945,000.
ASIC alleged Bigatton operated an unregistered managed investment scheme known as the BitConnect Lending Platform in Australia and that he provided unlicensed financial advice on behalf of another person in, amongst other things, seminars he conducted at various locations around Australia.
ASIC further alleged that during four seminars, he made false or misleading statements which were likely to induce investors to apply for, or acquire, interests in the BitConnect Lending Platform.
On 1September 2020, ASIC banned Bigatton from providing financial services for seven years.
The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after a referral from ASIC.
Bigatton's wife has also made headlines after mysteriously disappearing three months after the collapse of BitConnect.
Madeline Bigatton was last seen in March 2018. Her car was later found in a parking lot in the south Sydney suburb of Kurnell with her wedding ring inside.