A group of con artists has been charged with fraud in Taipei, Taiwan for operating an investment scam revolving around the cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC). They allegedly scammed a total of $51 million from investors from both local and foreign investors.
Focus Taiwan, a local news channel, reported that the local authorities arrested a man aged 47 years old with the surname Lin and six other accomplices. The fake investment scheme which they were running allegedly violated Taiwan’s Banking and Multi-Level Marketing Supervisions act.
The scheme operated by the group was a Ponzi scheme, a scheme where old investors are paid returns obtained from new investors, which was promoted to be promising returns of up to 355% after only one year of BTC investment. The case was similar to a fake cryptocurrency pyramid scheme which took place in Philippines, where investors were promised high returns for each BTC purchased from the criminals who never had any BTC in possession.
The Taiwanese prosecutors stated that most investors did not obtain the promoted amount of returns in the one-year duration. Moreover, investors ceased to gain any returns at all after some time. Lin and his group actively promoted the scheme since October 2016 and over 1,000 investors fell victims to their fraudulent scheme in Taiwan alone, earning them $51 million ‘free profit’. Citizens from China were also targeted by the group and defrauded of their money.
Another Ponzi scheme involving BTC took place in Tokyo, Japan. A total of eight people was arrested by the local police and accused of scamming over 6,000 investors with their fraudulent investment scheme promising high returns. The scheme caused investors to lose approximately $68 million.
It is a promising sight that authorities and local enforcers from around the globe are catching up with criminals who exploit cryptocurrencies and the crypto market to carry out fraudulent activities. While some argue that stricter regulations should be applied on the currency or even banned like Allianz Global Investors CEO Andreas Utermann, some say that stricter regulations would hurt the decentralized identity of crypto.