Cryptocurrency scams continue to plague the global market, with South Korea being no exception. In a recent development, a branch of the South Korean High Court has sentenced a convicted crypto scammer to jail for operating a fraudulent token trading platform. This article delves into the details surrounding the case and sheds light on the extent of the scammer’s deceitful actions.
The case was heard at the Busan High Court (Ulsan Tribunal) on November 12, where the unidentified scammer was already serving an initial eight-year sentence from an Ulsan-based district court. However, the High Court not only upheld the scammer’s guilty verdict but also prolonged the jail term after considering additional evidence provided by prosecutors. As a result, the scammer will now spend a total of nine and a half years behind bars for their fraudulent activities.
The court proceedings revealed that the scammer, identified as “A” by national media, enticed victims by claiming to possess insider knowledge of “crypto market manipulation” techniques. Promising extravagant returns of “x50 profits” on their investments, A operated a bogus crypto exchange between March and August 2019. To attract unsuspecting victims, A strategically utilized various social media channels to advertise the platform.
The court learned that A managed to amass nearly $1 million from approximately 90 victims. Additionally, A attempted to endorse a crypto asset under the false pretense that it could be used for payment at popular establishments such as convenience stores, department stores, and gas stations. However, the court uncovered that A was burdened with a substantial debt of around $0.5 million during this time and was even on probation for prior financial fraud offenses. A track record of fraudulent activities became evident as previous investors in A’s foreign exchange trading company had filed civil fraud cases.
Prosecutors presented damning evidence of A’s illicit behavior, including siphoning off more than $1 million from a previous employer’s bank account to repay debts and cover personal expenses. Another case highlighted A’s involvement in a faux British stock trading platform, where they promised significant gains to investors. The presiding judge remarked during the sentencing that A was a repeat offender with a history of breaking the law and, alarmingly, committed this latest crime while already on probation for fraud-related convictions.
South Korea has been grappling with an alarming rise in crypto scams, as borne out by recent law enforcement efforts. Just days before this sentencing, South Korean police undertook a significant operation, shutting down an “international crypto fraud” ring and freezing over $12 million. The action resulted in the arrest of 49 individuals allegedly involved in the fraudulent scheme.
Amidst the escalating crypto scam epidemic, a separate controversy surfaced regarding a recent state visit by a South Korean delegation to Saudi Arabia. Media outlets discovered that a suspected crypto fraudster had managed to become part of the delegation’s meeting with top Saudi government officials, raising concerns about the vulnerability of the South Korean government’s vetting processes.
The sentencing of the crypto scammer responsible for operating a fraudulent token trading platform sends a message that South Korean authorities are taking a firm stance against such activities. Despite ongoing efforts, the prevalence of crypto scams highlights the need for heightened vigilance, greater regulatory measures, and public awareness to safeguard individuals and the reputation of the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.