Police in Taiwan have arrested 15 suspects in New Taipei over running a cryptocurrency scam which caused more than 30 people to lose a total of almost NT$250 million (US$8.1 million).
Taiwanese media reported that two police raids on January 9 and 17 were used to capture the fifteen suspects for suspected fraud. During the raids, police also rounded up NT$2.02 million (US$65,500) in cash and three cars.
Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said the group carried out their scam by making use of an IBCoin investment scheme. IBCoin is a token currently banned in Taiwan. It is originally designed as a form of anonymous payment for users of adult entertainment websites who want to preserve their privacy.
CIB described how the ringleader of the group, a man surnamed Lin, had bought IBCoin through Chinese connections at NT$1.50 (US$0.05) per IBCoin in 2017. Lin then roped in people working for him to re-sell IBCoin at NT$50-NT$100 (US$1.62-US$3.24) per token with promises of investment returns to buyers. The group also used Facebook posts to show off luxurious lifestyles in order to entice more victims.
Police first took note of the case when a victim reported he had been cheated into buying NT$600,000 (US$19,470) in IBCoins. CIB also said none of the scam’s victims had received any returns on their investments.
Taiwanese media said CIB’s investigations revealed IBCoins to have no real value, and CIB is not aware of any companies which currently trade or deal in IBCoins.