Sam Karagiozis, the 27-year-old self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur who has always described himself as a hustler, will be unlikely to swindle himself out of his latest venture. Karagiozis is the “27-year-old Melbourne man” who was arrested in the Victorian suburb of Bulleen by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on drug trafficking offences last week. Two exchanges were closed down, one being Auscoin.
Karagiozis apparently invested $15 million into Auscoin and hoped to roll out Australia’s first nationwide ATM network. Karagiozis founded Auscoin Group in 2017 and raised $30 million from its initial coin offering (ICO). But his scheme to install 1200 Auscoin ATMs in shopping centres around Australia and Asia collapsed when the ICO raised less than $2 million. Around 30 Australian shopping centres currently have Auscoin ATMs.
A Scam Built On Grandiose Promises
Perhaps the writing was on the wall a year ago. A 60 Minutes report, aired on prime time television, claimed Auscoin was an “$80 million scam” built on “grandiose promises”. The report said one of Karagiozis’ business partners, Michael Sloggett, had confirmed the company’s ATMs would be supplied by Genesiscoin and that a purchase order had already been placed. However, Genesiscoin CEO, Evan Rose, said he had only sold Mr Karagiozis 34 ATMs.
“We don’t have any pending orders for 1200 machines,” Mr Rose told 60 Minutes in an email.
Karagiozis’ latest facebook post on March 8 was about the “core team member and valued friend” Michael Sloggett, leaving the company.
Police allege that he was involved in directing operations of the drug syndicate, which “used various dark net sites, bitcoin accounts and legitimate business for the sourcing, payment and distribution of the illicit drugs”. He has been charged with possessing, importing and trafficking about 30kg of controlled substances, including cocaine, ketamine, MDMA and methamphetamine.
Assets, Including Property, Have Been Seized
A month after selling his Lamborghini, Karagiozis, the man with the words “self made” tattooed across his knuckles, now has restraining orders placed on his assets, which are worth more than $2 million.
Not one to shy away from the media, he has been a regular fixture in the Australian press. He is friendly with the Australian tennis player, Nick Kyrgios, even sitting in the player’s box at the Australian Open. Karagiozis boasts about selling Bitcoin to the tennis ace and his brother.