Juicy Fields Scam Rocks Investors Community

Stephen Andrews
19 Jul 2022

Reports that cannabis "crowdgrowing" platform Juicy Fields is involved in a huge money laundering scheme are sending shockwaves across the global cannabis community. A blockchain analysis showed that a wallet linked to Juicy Fields suddenly went short for 17 million dollars. Investors' money was locked up in the company's account.

Juicy Fields, a pyramid scheme for cannabis investment, promised users exceptionally high return rates, and that was a major problem that some experts were quick to point out, saying something is not right here.

The European company has now frozen cash withdrawals and removed their profiles from social media networks. Those responsible have disappeared without a trace. 

The suspicious activities on Juicy Fields accounts were detected mid-July and the situation escalated quickly. However, a lot of evidence points out that this was a thoroughly thought out operation that certainly took the time and effort to plan. 

Juicy Fields was able to build massive followership through aggressive social media marketing. Its campaigns, which also involved collaborations with renowned publications such as Forbes, helped it position itself high in the eye of the public and attract hundreds of thousands of users or e-growers. The company exploited its extensive network of digital agents to gain credibility and prove its work is honest. 

However, the guarantee of humongous returns, up to 15% per month or over 60% in three months, made some onlookers raise an eyebrow and say this may be a scam. 

Possible scam warnings were sent out by several financial authorities across Europe in the past couple of months, including in Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands. The company claimed it is registered in the Netherlands, however, the Dutch Authority of the Financial Markets (AMF) said as early as February that Juicy Fields did not have any type of license to provide financial services and was "probably a scam."

Shortly after these reactions, Juicy Fields reportedly changed headquarters. The company has also made other deceiving claims in the past, such as that it has contracts with cannabis behemoths Canopy Growth and Aurora. Both these companies have denied having any involvement with the Juicy Fields web platform.

Even so, Juicy Fields continued offering investment packages to its broad audience in Europe and beyond. It provided four investment options ranging from 50 to 2,000 euros (51 to 2049 in US dollars) without requiring ID documents and accepting payments both via bank transfers and cryptocurrencies. Each e-grower was able to invest up to €180,000.

The company's data from last June shows that the number of e-growers reached half a million. Investors were told that their money was intended for legal marijuana cultivation. For example, an investment of 50 euros would generate the first returns in 108 days, or after the plant is harvested and sold, to amortize the investment plus interest in the range between 33% and 66%. 

Juicy Fields claimed that it has 80,000 square meters at its disposal for growing legal cannabis crops. Granted that each e-grower signed up on the platform owned a single plant (the minimum investment of 50 euros), it would imply that the company would be managing to plant and harvest more than six plants per square meter. Something hard to believe.

Between July 11 and 14, it became apparent things were seriously off. On Monday, July 11, a group of company workers announced they were going on strike for unpaid wages. Immediately after this, the company froze all cash withdrawals and users started complaining on social media. There was a company announcement that said the freeze was temporary and that funds would be released in 48 hours, however, the next thing that happened was Juicy Fields CEO Williem van der Merwe submitting his resignation and distancing from the company. 

On Thursday, July 14, a Youtuber expert in cryptocurrencies and metaverse was able to track some of the company's suspicious money movement real-time. The withdrawals were tracked on a blockchain address associated with the Juicy Fields wallet that keeps most of the company's digital funds. A video is available to watch on the Crypto Era YouTube channel. If the purported wallet initially held approximately $105 million in the afternoon of July 14, the sum plunged to less than $89 million afterward. 

Subsequently, Spanish publisher El País Financiero verified that the information presented on the Crypto Era YouTube channel was valid. The publisher confirmed Juicy Fields' address in Etherscan and said the transaction amounts coincide with those shown on the YouTube stream. This verification practically dismantled any doubts. This was an exit scam happening right before our eyes. 

And where would those millions of investors' money end up? More transactions linked to Juicy Fields' wallet appear to show there's an ongoing "Blending" or "Mixing" operation. In other words, those behind the exit scam are engaged in executing thousands of seemingly random transactions, with a purpose to make it nearly impossible to keep track of the funds. Until it is safe enough to withdraw in national currencies. 

Those affected by the scam are already taking legal actions against Juicy Fields at different European locations. The number one suspect would be the alleged company owners. As listed by JuicyFields's website, the co-owners and lawyers respectively of the company are two brothers, Stefan and Friedrich von Luxburg, who might be linked to Luxembourg royalty. 

Media reports suggest that Stefan is listed in the Swiss commercial register as president of a project's parent company, called JuicyFields AG. The same Swiss register reportedly lists up to 91 other companies linked to the parent company. Friedrich, who owns a law firm in Venezuela dubbed Luxburg Carolath, issued a statement just days ago it is disassociating himself from Juicy Fields. 


This story is developing. More is to follow...

Stephen Andrews