Post: Former BitConnect promoter John Bigatton pleads guilty

John Louis Anthony Bigatton of Carss Park, New South Wales, has pleaded guilty to one criminal charge relating to his role as national promoter of BitConnect.

Mr Bigatton appeared before the Sydney District Court on 16 May 2024 and pleaded guilty to providing unlicensed financial services on behalf of another person contrary to section 911B(1) of the Corporations Act.

BitConnect was a financial service business and an online cryptocurrency platform offering investment opportunities through its website, including a financial product known as the Lending Platform. The Lending Platform was promoted as an investment opportunity and in order to participate, investors were required to acquire BitConnect coin (BCC), a cryptocurrency token offered by BitConnect through its website.

The Lending Platform permitted lenders to invest or “loan” BCC for fixed terms in exchange for promised high interest rates. Investors did not control their loans once invested, nor could they withdraw their capital investment until the expiry of the lending period.

Mr Bigatton undertook promotional activities for BitConnect and the Lending Platform on social media, at seminars that he hosted at various locations around Australia, and through face-to- face meetings with investors.

Mr Bigatton provided financial product advice without holding an Australian Financial Services licence or authorisation to provide financial services about the Lending Platform and BCC, on six instances at various locations around Australia through seminars (four) and social media posts (two).

A sentencing hearing will take place on 5 July 2024.

A related charge of operating an unregistered managed investment scheme was withdrawn following Mr Bigatton pleading guilty to the charge for which he is to be sentenced.

The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after an investigation and referral by ASIC.

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