A North Texas veteran said he was swindled out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a cryptocurrency scam.
James Kachel, of Plano, is an Army veteran who served in the Gulf War.
He spent the last 16 years working for the United State Postal Service. When he left last year, he said he started looking into investing in cryptocurrency to make extra money.
“Surprisingly, at the time I was thinking about doing it, here comes the message,” Kachel explained.
“The message” on WhatsApp was from someone who said their name was ‘Katherina’, and offered to help and teach Kachel how to invest in cryptocurrency.
It started, he said, with a small transaction in July 2021 through what he thought was a crypto trading site.
As his trust in ‘Katherina’ grew, so did the investments.
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After about six months, more than 100 pages worth of messages, and dozens of transactions later, he said he tried to withdraw money from the $4 million he was told he’d made.
“They were saying, ‘Oh you’ve got to do this first because you've been flagged’,” Kachel recalled.
Kachel said he spent weeks getting the runaround, realizing it was all a scam and that the app he thought was a trading site was actually a clone of a real crypto marketplace.
“It was heartbreaking,” Kachel said.
His biggest regret, he said, is using money that was supposed to pay for his mom's assisted living.
Total, Kachel said he was scammed out of at least $220,000.
“It's a giant gamble,” Magnus Carter said about investing in crypto.
Carter is a crypto enthusiast who just wrote a book for beginners.
He said crypto crooks go to great lengths to get what they want, and often get away with it.
“There's a lot of uncertainty with it. There’s no federal guidelines. There’s no laws that can actually stop people from doing things and no regulations for people to follow,” Carter said.
Kachel said he filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
His profile on the cloned app has also disappeared, along with any hope he’ll ever see his money again.
“Emotionally it's draining on me because it was all me that did it,” he said.
Kachel said he's sharing his story so others don't fall victim, too.
Click here for what consumers should know about cryptocurrency and how to avoid scams.