"Bitcoin Pope" hit with cease and desist order by Texas authorities

In brief

  • Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles has demanded the shutdown of a cryptocurrency investment scheme it alleges is operated by Eric Darwin Balusek, a.k.a. “Bitcoin Pope”.
  • The high margin investment scheme guarantees no risk and is solicited through two main websites: “Forex Birds” and “Pek Universe”.
  • Balusek must shut down or face a fine of up to ten thousand dollars or two to ten years imprisonment or both.

The Texas Securities Commissioner on Thursday demanded the immediate shutdown of a cryptocurrency investment program it alleges is operated by a would-be guru, one Eric Darwin Balusek, a.k.a. “Bitcoin Pope”.

Texas State Securities Board Commissioner Travis J. Iles issued the emergency cease and desist order to Balusek for his involvement in, the Commission alleges, a fraudulent crypto investment scheme that promises investors more than a “hundred percent profit”.

Two days after the order was issued, Forex Birds and its parent company, Pek Universe, are still running. 

Pek Universe promises those that invest at least $500, a 1.4% profit for 10 days, and a 5% affiliate fee. In return, it offers “the services of top Expert traders in the world to our world of platforms [sic].” Among other services offered by the firm are environmental cleanup, missile-defense and nuclear security. 

Forex Birds tells investors that they earn 50% in a single day (before Balusek takes his 20% cut of all the profits, of course). It claims that it is registered with both the “Europian” [sic] and Australian Securities and Investment Commissions. It cites Citibank, UBS and Barclays as liquidity providers, plus a generous insurance policy of up to one million dollars. At no extra cost! 

“Respondents have made an offer containing statements that are materially misleading,” said Iles in his cease and desist order. 

Operating two websites that promise high returns on crypto investments at virtually no risk, Balusek must shut down or face a fine of up to ten thousand dollars or two to ten years imprisonment or both. The order does not mention how much Balusek made from the scheme—if anything at all.

We’ve been here before. Several times. There was Fairwin, the $125 million Ponzi scheme that, once the internet cottoned on, switched the images of its “board members” with cartoon puppets. MMM Global, a Ponzi cult that outlasted its creator, the late venerated Russian fraudster Sergei Mavrodi. 

Just this week, Joseph Abelone of the minds behind the $722 million BitClub mining scheme pleaded guilty. His co-conspirator, Silviu Balaci, called his victims “sheep,” and said that they were “building this whole model on the backs of idiots.” 

“Bitcoin Pope” is original. Kinda