Under the CARES Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package that Congress and the White House agreed to in March, eligible Americans received a one-time $1,200 check. Naturally, Americans around the country have been utilizing those funds in a variety of ways amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to a new report from AL.com, several members of one Alabama church group were, unfortunately, scammed out of their relief funds after they invested their checks into a bogus scheme.
The Alabama Securities Commission (ASC) said that Asic Bitpro and Elizabeth Cummings used a popular social media platform to carry out this scheme. They promised that individuals would have a rate of return of 7,662 % to 34,2259 % from a cryptocurrency cloud mining plan if they invested their stimulus checks. Asic Bitpro and Cummings have been barred for fraudulent claims, deceptive advertising, and failing to register with the ASC. The Better Business Bureau has also issued an alert that verified Bitpro as an international fraud scheme. The ASC has not released any details regarding the victims of this scheme, nor have they identified the social media platform that was used for it.
The ASC noted that this scheme raised several red flags. They shared that no one can guarantee returns to investors and that the exorbitant amount of the return was cause for concern. Additionally, the scheme raised flags as Alabama law requires that most investment products and professionals must register with the ASC, which they did not do in this case. ASC Director Joseph P. Borg shared advice for potential investors, explaining that they should always ask if someone is licensed or if their products are registered. He also said that investors should check with the ASC to verify whether an investment opportunity of this nature is legitimate. He said, "Technology buzzwords, such as 'cryptocurrency', 'cloud mining', and 'quantum computing', are often exploited by fraudsters to take advantage of well-meaning investors."
This news comes as Americans across the country are eagerly awaiting their second stimulus check. Over the past several months, Congress has been trying to agree on another package without success. On Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats are not budging when it comes to the price point of the next package, as they are seeking $2.2 trillion, per Forbes. "We have said again and again that we are willing to come down [and] meet them in the middle," Pelosi said about the deal, following a phone call with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. "That would be $2.2 trillion. When they're ready to do that, we'll be ready to discuss and negotiate. I did not get that impression on that call. That could be a very short conversation if they're not willing to meet in the middle. We're not budging. They have to move."