Comedian Arrested for Alleged Bitcoin Scam

Popular social media influencer and comedian Pankeeroy has been arrested for alleged financial online, according to a report by Pulse. Pankeeroy — whose real name is Nwagbo Oliver Chidera — is known for making sketches and pranks on Instagram but has recently been pushing cryptocurrency as well. According to Pulse.ng, he is now accused of scamming other users out of millions of dollars.

Chidera was arrested on Wednesday, April 21, in Lekki, Lagos, by operatives of the Lagos Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The commission claims that he posed as a vendor who could redeem bitcoin vouchers online, only to take the cryptocurrency for himself. The officers found that he had nearly $59,000 worth of bitcoin in his online account — or just over $22 million Nigerian Naira's worth. Authorities also seized the comedian's new Mercedes Benz, which is worth about $100,000.

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Chidera graduated from Redeemers University with a degree in computer science. Authorities say he started this "bitcoin scam" himself after falling into a deep depression. Their intelligence mentioned a unique online platform he used to defraud his alleged victims, though it is not clear if he created it himself.

Chidera has over 543,000 followers on his Pankeeroy account, though he has not posted in nearly three weeks now. He has not made any public comments about the allegations against him either.

Fraud schemes like this are one reason why so many financial experts are wary of cryptocurrency in general. The point of the online currency is that it operates without a centralized bank, and it stores its own transactional history in a nearly impossible way to tamper with. It is unclear if that self-storing ledger will be admissible evidence in Chidera's case.