A neat website and a promise of a return on investment of 30 to 60% within three months in the field of therapeutic cannabis. This is what seduced and deceived the 24-year-old Geoffrey. Like thousands of victims in Spain, Luxembourg or Germany, the young Colmarian was scammed by Juicy Fields (French for juicy fields).
Established in 2020, the company is launching a fundraising campaign through Telegram and dedicated cryptocurrency forums. A company from the Netherlands offers to buy cannabis plants for medical use online (between 50 and 180,000 euros in cryptocurrency), promising investors a very high return. Last June, Jeffrey invested 25,000 euros in the online platform. “I have already invested twice and have always received my money well,” he explains to our colleagues from Actu.fr in Strasbourg, Monday 1 August.
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The young man first bet 4,500 euros the first time, then 7,000 euros the second time. But this time, not everything goes according to plan. Since mid-July, problems have been multiplying: investors no longer have access to the platform, payments have stopped going through, no one is answering messages and calls. “Electronic manufacturers”, investors, receive newsletters designed to reassure. The company’s “emergency crew member” reassures them, among other things, of the forthcoming reimbursement.
On July 27th, other information promises “a formal process for recovering capital investments from affected internet producers who legitimately invested in JuicyFields.” “We don’t know if this is a time-saving ploy, if there are conflicts between different owners, if they really intend to reopen the new platform in September, in short, we don’t know anything,” Jeffrey instructs, annoyed, to our colleagues.
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Arnaud Delomel, a lawyer at the Bar of Rennes, is taking evidence and advising frustrated investors to file a class action complaint with Junalco (the national court responsible for fighting organized crime) in September. “We will be talking about tens of millions of euros lost by investors,” he says. For his part, Geoffrey filed a preliminary complaint with Colmar and contacted his bank in the hope that he could withdraw the funds.
In Spain, a collective complaint by more than a thousand victims against Juicy Fields concerns alleged acts of “fraud”, “embezzlement” and “money laundering”, said Me Norberto Martínez, a lawyer for the firm Martínez-Blanco that initiated the proceedings. Master Delomel has two hypotheses: “Perhaps we have encountered a scam, in which case the goal from the very beginning was to deceive investors.” Another option: “The company was the victim of embezzlement by some of its managers or employees.”
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