SPANISH police have arrested eight people for their links to a cryptocurrency cult that lured in young people.
The organisation – called IM Mastery Academy, boasted of its members living luxury lifestyles by ‘changing their mindset towards a success led mentality’.
It charged exorbitant fees for membership to the organisation and access to the groups learning materials, which were essentially a bundle of motivational youtube videos.
Unable to pay for their fees to stay at the academy, students would then be offered money to recruit new members as part of a Ponzi scheme.
A former member said: “I recruited up to 30 people and would spend 14 hours a day evangelising the group and trying to register new members.”
A Spanish national police spokesperson described how leaders of the organisation used ‘cult-like techniques to persuade youngsters to cut ties with their families and focus only on the organisation.’
Their website, which at the time of publication is still online, described its service as: ‘exclusive education for harmonic patterns in the forex markets helping you identify potential reversals in the market, giving you powerful insight and analysis for opportunities to earn.’
The ‘Chief Executive Officer’ of the operation, Chris Terry, is described as a ‘global thought leader’ on his personal website and says: “To become a great leader, you must first become a great follower. There is no great reward without risk, time, and effort.”
It still lists a forthcoming event taking place in Barcelona called ‘IM Beyond’ from April 7 – 10 with tickets apparently all sold out.
It is thought that at least 60 families are receiving therapy from RedUne, a charity which helps people who have been affected by sects.
Juantxo Domínguez, president of the organisation said: “Those who promote these kinds of groups have a playbook on how to capture and groom recruits. You don’t realise where you are headed, because you have a need, you have a vulnerability”.
The charity is calling on police to step up their investigation, given that the academy is still listing events on its website.
Indeed, in Badalona on April 9, more than 9,000 young people, many flying in from abroad, attended an IM Academy conference.
One woman, called Isabel, told the charity: “My son is 16 years old and a month ago he was abducted by IM Mastery Academy. Not only has he left his studies, but being a minor he has run away from home, his whereabouts are unknown, we suspect that he is living with other members of that organization. I do not understand why a network of these characteristics is allowed to continue operating and attracting young people as if nothing had happened.”
Both the organsiation and Chris Terry have been approached for comment.
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