Things have turned sour for a South Korean businessman involved in an offline peer-to-peer cryptocurrency scam. The businessman swapped his digital currency for euros that turned out to be fake.
Details of the Scam
A South Korean businessman who runs a cryptocurrency company in Singapore had Bitcoin worth approximately $2.3 million that he wanted to exchange for 2 million euros in cash. Two Serbian nationals contacted him under the guise of completing the transaction. The proposition was made and concluded with the businessman in July.
According to the Agency France-Presse (AFP), however, after the transaction was completed in a hotel in Nice, France, the businessman discovered that the €500 notes given to him were crude, photocopied fakes.
This led the victim to file a criminal complaint at the end of July. One of the Serbian buyers was later found at a top-notch hotel in Cannes, France, living an ostentatious lifestyle. The suspect was reportedly found with a luxury car and a €100,000 watch.
According to the businessman, the Serbians approached him with a proposal to invest in his Singaporean company. The discussions, however, led to an offline P2P Bitcoin-fiat trade. The South Korean was to transfer his Bitcoin to a foreign account in exchange for the cash.
According to AFP, the lawyer representing the one of the suspects, Gerard Boudoux, said that his client has appeared in court and is remanded in custody. Charges against his client include fraud and belonging to an organized crime network.
At the moment, Boudoux’s accomplice is still at large.
Elaborate Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Scams
The case of Bitcoin holders exchanging their virtual currency for fake fiat currencies is not something new. In April 2018, seven men were arrested for allegedly conning a Tokyo marketing firm president of $1.8 million worth of Bitcoin. In August 2018, a Thai actor and six other suspects were arrested in connection with a Bitcoin scam, after deceiving the victim into transferring $24 million worth of Bitcoin.
Twitter has become a common platform for cryptocurrency fraudsters. These fraudsters open fake accounts and promotional giveaways of virtual currencies. In July 2018, tech figure Elon Musk spoke against a cryptocurrency scam on Twitter after counterfeit accounts appeared on his feed. Several bots have been mimicking the tech guru and other high-profile users to trick people into sending them cryptocurrencies.
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