More than a dozen suspects have been arrested in Taipei for their part in an alleged Taiwan cryptocurrency scam that is worth in the region of $8 million. The scam surrounds a cryptocurrency called IBCoin, which was supposedly used to part investors from their cash in Taiwan.
2018 was a bad year for the crypto industry in terms of scams with a supposed $3 billion in losses due to crypto crime. This alleged crypto fraud case is one of the largest so far this year in Asia and is currently big news in Taiwan.
The Unfolding Scam
Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) made the announcement on Saturday that they had apprehended 15 suspects that are believed to be part of a scam that has defrauded over 30 investors out of more than NT$250 million, which breaks down as approximately $8.15 million US Dollars.
Although details are a bit thin on the ground at this moment, the Taiwan Focus news outlet reported on a press conference held by the CIB’s Investigation Corps chief, Li Chi-hsun.
Li confirmed that 15 suspects have been detained in the case during two raids on Jan 9 and Jan 17. He also concluded that the group’s alleged ringleader, named only at this time as Lin, had also been apprehended amidst the raids.
Li apparently used his connections to buy IBCoins for as little as NT$1.5 apiece back in 2017. The group allegedly tricked potential investors into buying the IBCoin for NT$50-NT$100 per bit while promising them massive returns on their investment that never came to fruition.
Scammers Used Lavish Lifestyle to Attract Investors
The group apparently used the money to fuel a lavish looking lifestyle boasting flash luxury cars, which they then promoted across their social media accounts to lure investors in. Once investors exchanged their cash for IBCoins, they never received any return on their investment.
Local authorities have said that the IBCoin was nothing but a front and is virtually worthless. As part of the raids, the CIB has apparently seized in the region of NT$2.02 million in cash, which is only $70,000 USD. Other items seized included a few luxury vehicles and written evidence of the IBCoin Taiwan cryptocurrency scam plot.
All 15 suspects have been charged with fraud. According to the CIB, the suspects’ cases have now been handed over to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office who will set the date for the trial in due course.