Australian Retiree Battles to Reclaim Funds from HyperVerse Scheme
Australian retiree, Catherina De Solieux, is the latest victim of the HyperVerse cryptocurrency scheme to speak out about her experience, describing to The Guardian Australia the devastating impact of losing most of her life savings and eventually her home, leaving her in financial ruin and emotionally distraught.
But there may be some hope of recovering lost funds for De Solineux and other HyperVerse victims. A specialist UK-based law firm, Wealth Recovery Solicitors, plans to attempt to recover the lost money from the banks that oversaw transfers to the project.
Retired Nurse Tells Unhappy Story
De Solineux, who is a 71-year-old retired nurse, told The Guardian she initially heard about what was then called HyperFund (later rebranded to HyperVerse) through a network investing group she was a part of.
The scheme promised investors reliable returns, which De Solineux planned to use as a source of passive retirement income. After making a few small investments in the scheme, the retiree decided to invest most of her savings, around AUD $80,000.
In a now familiar story, De Solineux lost all of the money she invested, eventually leading to the loss of her home and leaving her financially devastated and suicidal. De Solineux said: “Now I haven’t got five cents in the bank or in my pocket. I can’t go to the dentist. I can’t get my car serviced properly.”
I got terribly, terribly depressed and I wanted to commit suicide. It’s a terrible thing to admit to anyone, but that’s how I felt.
She’s hopeful the scheme’s founders face some consequences:
I’ve got to say that that’s one of the things that I really care a lot about … the whole concept of justice, and people who are in these schemes they need to be brought to justice, they really do.
Law Firm Targets Banks To Recover Funds
The Guardian Australia reports that De Solineux’s case has been taken on by UK-based specialist investment fraud law firm, Wealth Recovery Solicitors (WRS), who already represent over 100 victims of the scheme in the UK.
Josh Chinn, a solicitor at WRS, said Australian banks have an obligation under the industry’s code of conduct to detect unusual or risky transactions and put in place protective measures to prevent customers from losing money.
But before banks can be forced to repay customers lost funds, it must first be demonstrated that the customers truly no longer have the lost funds and that HyperVerse was indeed a scam.
To do this WRS has undertaken sophisticated blockchain tracing: “We firstly have to get over the hurdle of proving it’s a scam. When it comes to [alleged] cryptocurrency scams, we’ve got to basically prove that the [alleged] victims don’t have the funds any more, so we have in-house technology where we can trace cryptocurrency,” Chinn said.
We are gathering together a general exhibit just to get over that first hurdle of proving it’s a scam, what happened, and why the victims believed it was a genuine investment.
Overcoming that hurdle would form the basis of a claim against banks, enabling the cases to be settled through the financial ombudsman and avoiding costly and time consuming litigation, according to Chinn.
HyperVerse Founder’s Hijinks Continue
In a worrying turn of events, Australian man and alleged co-founder of HyperVerse, Sam Lee, has been seen shilling a new cryptocurrency scheme mere hours after being charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the US in relation to his involvement with HyperVerse.
Lee was seen spruiking his new scheme, called 369 Era, which appears to be almost identical to HyperVerse, at an investor event called VEND.