South Korean Police Uncover $4.1 Million Cryptocurrency Scam Targeting Senior Citizen

In a significant crackdown on cryptocurrency fraud, South Korean authorities have apprehended two individuals responsible for a scam that defrauded a senior citizen of 5.5 billion won ($4.1 million). The Haeundae Police Station in Busan announced the detention of the duo, aged in their 20s and 30s, who exploited the victim’s trust by promising lucrative returns on crypto investments.

Between September and December 2022, the scammers enticed the victim with the prospect of a 70% profit on a monthly investment of 1 billion won. They convinced the senior citizen by declaring, “It’s a boom period for coin (cryptocurrency). If you invest 1 billion won, I will call it 1.7 billion won a month later.” Seduced by the promise of high returns, the victim transferred a total of 5.5 billion won over six transactions.

To maintain the illusion of a legitimate investment, the fraudsters presented the victim with forged balance certificates and fake balance sheets, showing an inflated account balance of 20 billion won in cryptocurrencies. Additionally, they showcased fraudulent real estate contracts to further deceive the victim. However, investigations revealed that none of the victim’s funds were actually invested in cryptocurrency trading accounts.

The swift action by the South Korean police has brought the perpetrators to justice, although details regarding the recovery of the stolen funds remain undisclosed. This incident underscores the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments, particularly for individuals who may not be well-versed in the digital finance landscape.

The case also highlights the broader issue of cryptocurrency-related crimes in South Korea. In a related development, Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon, a prominent figure in the South Korean crypto community, was recently released from prison in Montenegro. Kwon faces extradition requests from both the United States and South Korea over charges related to the collapse of the Terra ecosystem in 2022.

A major scandal involved the blockchain sports platform Winnerz, which allegedly issued fake cryptocurrency and prevented investors from withdrawing their money. Popular South Korean celebrities and YouTubers were accused of promoting this fraudulent platform, leading to a public outcry and legal actions.

Two executives from the cryptocurrency exchange Bitsonic were sentenced for orchestrating a fraud that resulted in a $7.5 million loss to customers. The CEO, Jinwook Shin, received a seven-year prison sentence for fraud, forging and falsifying records, and obstructing a business via computer.

The CEO and two executives of Haru Invest, a crypto yield platform, were arrested for embezzling $830 million worth of cryptocurrency from 16,000 users. This case highlighted the issue of platforms halting withdrawals and misappropriating funds

As the digital currency market continues to evolve, this incident serves as a cautionary tale for investors. It emphasizes the importance of conducting thorough research and exercising caution when engaging in cryptocurrency investments, especially in an environment where the allure of high returns can sometimes mask the reality of high risks.

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