The Auscoin Bitcoin ATM business in Australia was founded by Steen McBeth and Sam Karagiozis. These two bitcoin entrepreneurs led a flashy lifestyle which initially didn’t raise suspicions. It seems however, that driving around in sport cars and high-end motorcycles didn’t go unnoticed by the Australian police.
After an in-depth investigation, it turned out that the duo behind Auscoin, was running a drug-dealing business. Both McBeth and Karagiozis are now in custody and are facing many charges related to their drug traffic operations.
Cryptocurrencies did unfortunately have some role in the drug trade. According to the Australian police reports, the majority of the drugs were sold on the darkweb. The majority of the purchases were done in cryptocurrencies, most often bitcoin and later shipped to Australia via many different routes.
Evidence to support the case against the “crypto entrepreneurs” began piling up back in February 2017. Many packs of ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine were confiscated by the Australian Border Force. Of course, the number of packages arriving was huge so McBeth and Karagiozis didn’t even register the few missing packages.
Auscoin was under investigation for a while
Eventually, the authorities traced the increasing number of coming packages back to McBeth and one of his associates named Jackson Li. After the arrests were made, everyone involved was charged with the import of crystal methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy. Karagiozis was skillfully evading the authorities until just last month when he was finally arrested and charged with over 10 offenses related to drug smuggling.
Auscoin was founded in the end of 2017 and was licensed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Karagiozis was the public face of the company, while the other co-founder McBeth was evading the spotlight.
Karagiozis set very high-end goals for Auscoin and wanted to have more than 1200 bitcoin ATMs across Australia before 2018 even began. Ironically enough, the most recent update shows that there are currently 30 bitcoin ATMs set up throughout the whole country.
Karagiozis was definitely a bitcoin bull, but he was by no means a good trader. He made some very questionable predictions in the beginning of 2018 which eventually turned to be completely false.
— Sam Karagiozis (@Sam_Karagiozis) January 5, 2018
With ICOs rapidly losing credibility and the bear market beginning to settle in, the initial coin offering of Auscoin didn’t go as planned. The dynamic duo of “entrepreneurs” wanted to raise AUD$30 million but did not even manage to break AUD$2 million.
Karagiozis unfortunately served as a fake role model for many people in Greece. The Greek City Times even did an article on him that showed that hard work, dedication and determination was all that it took to succeed. Karagiozis apparently dropped out of school and eventually got a job at McDonald’s.
On paper, he also was a restaurant owner, owned the bitcoin exchange SK BTC and also had investments in real estate. The now-revealed drug dealer’s bank accounts and assets have all been seized. McBeth also had almost all of his assets seized and/or frozen.
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