Dozens of families and friends from the Dijon region have recommended a local bitcoin investment fund … before seeing their investments evaporate. Story.
When we talk about digital currency scams, we can easily imagine hackers holed up behind their screens on the other side of the world. But in the RR Crypto affair, everything took place around the city of Dijon, under the rule of a well-known entrepreneur from this quiet Burgundy town, barely 26 years old. For one of the biggest cryptocurrency scams in France: between 40 and 58 million euros evaporated.
On June 20, the founder of the RR Crypto management fund Vincent Ropiot sent an email in the form of a confession to his clients. “The funds are no longer present in the portfolio“. A few days later, he details the extent of the disaster to his employees. “We have no more funds, zero and it’s been since March that it lasts»He writes, claiming to have been«betrayed, used, stolen“. With the only justification a “hacking his accountOn Binance. The cryptocurrency exchange for its part denies the very existence of an RR Crypto account.
For RR Crypto investors, the shock is severe. However, between March and June, RR Crypto continued to post solid capital gains, clearly manipulated Today, RR Crypto leaves more than 2,000 investors dispossessed, between 40 and 60 million euros in flight and two million euros in debt . How can we explain that the company aroused and then betrayed such trust?
At its head, Vincent Ropiot presents himself as a “self-taughtOf bitcoin. In 2013, the Dijonnais bought some for 3,000 euros when he was barely of age. A poker move that brings him more than 300,000 euros and a certain notoriety among the entrepreneurs of his city. About fifteen owners of the Dijon ecosystem are thus placing their crypto-assets in RR Crypto, launched in 2019.
The structure has a respectable facade. Premises in a commercial area, around twenty employees recruited as advisers in charge of welcoming clients or “traders” to manage funds. “From the outside everything seemed serious“, Admits Olivier Champion, a Dijon resident who lost 7,000 euros in RR Crypto. Each month, this acquaintance of Vincent Ropiot receives a detailed assessment of his portfolio like each of the investors.
Conquered by this apparent rigor and the prospect of capital gains of up to 37%, customers are talking about RR Crypto around them. “Their clientele is 80% word of mouth“, estimates Philippe *, who entrusted them with 20,000 euros. It was during a discussion with a long-time friend, adviser for the company, that this municipal transport employee thought of investing. “RR Crypto, it was simplicity, he says. I gave my money converted to cryptos and they took care of everything“
Its gains reach + 25% in February. This thirty-something recounts his good fortune at family meals, at the coffee machine. “About fifteen people around me, including my parents, put a total of 200,000 euros in RR Crypto“, he fumed. When it is not relatives who recommend the vein, lawyers, judges at the commercial court of Dijon and even sportsmen take care of it in good faith.
Not enough, however, to hide the inconsistencies of the project. RR Crypto is not registered as a company, only officially has the legal status of an association and does not have the authorization of the AMF to manage digital assets. On some specialized forums, the first accusations of scams are emerging from August 2020.
Vincent Ropiot defends himself in a long post of explanation in the summer of 2020. Each time his structure is targeted, the young man gives the change. He runs an online seminar on May 31, three weeks before lifting the veil on the financial abyss. In all serenity, he evokes the future real estate branch of RR Crypto, RR Immo. “It was reassuring to see him talk about future projects“, remembers Philippe, webinar viewer.
Cornered, the leader of RR Crypto therefore ended up revealing the disaster at the end of June. And justified himself by claiming to be the victim of a hack on Binance for which he filed a complaint. A credible justification according to some aggrieved investors. The lawyer for a collective of victims believes that the first elements indicate more “a Ponzi scheme», A financial deception where the money of the new investors makes it possible to reimburse the oldest with amazing returns on investments. However, the Ponzi scheme scenario does not fit well with the RR Crypto scheme since no regular payment was promised.
The cybercrime section of the Paris prosecutor’s office has already opened an investigation. Meanwhile, the list of victims continues to grow and could be well above the 2,600 identified so far. “I get calls from new investors every day, all of whom come from Côte-d’Or», Notes Fabien Kovac, lawyer who also advises a victims association. The first complaints were filed last week. The trial should not take place before “2024 or even 2025According to the lawyer. “I have no hate claims Philippe *. At least we deserve to know the truth.“
first name changed for anonymity