Massive fraud case into Turkey’s alternative cryptocurrency starts
DİNÇER GÖKÇE - ISTANBUL
Some 37 people who collected 200 million liras ($25.2 million) from nearly 12,000 people in six months, with the promise of giving high revenue in return with Turkey’s “national” alternative digital currency, were sued for fraud, according to a report by daily Hürriyet.
Turkish prosecutors have completed an indictment against 37 people who were allegedly involved in the Ponzi scheme.
In 2018, a duo named Sadun Kaya and Muhammet Satıroğlu, who introduced themselves as the owners of a company with 25 million customers and an income of $5 billion across the world, created a cryptocurrency called Turcoin with a “pyramid scheme” in the northwestern province of Kocaeli.
They held meetings at luxury hotels and persuaded participants to invest their money in the scheme.
The scheme soon spread in a way that each new participant would bring more revenue to the person who signed them up while some of them joined the system by selling their houses and cars.
Orhan Akbulut, who later became one of the defendants, collected money from a few doctor friends and invested 5 million liras ($632,000) in the Turcoin.
When the investors received their payments regularly in the first months, they started to invest more money and find more customers, and eventually, nearly 12,000 people gave 200 million liras in six months to Turcoin, which was in reality non-existent.
But the system was blocked at the end of six months, which is the usual collapse life of the pyramid scheme, and the company did not pay the returns it promised to Turcoin investors.
Thousands of people in panic tried to reach a company called Hipper in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, where they invested their money, and the Kaya-Satıroğlu duo, who are the creators of this system, but to no avail.
As the police forces and the prosecution took action on the complaints, the duo was arrested by the court where they were taken.
The Kocaeli Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared an indictment against 37 people and it was noted that the defendants acted with the intention of fraud.
In the indictment, which recorded that money was collected with the pyramid scheme, the title of “opportunity hunter” was used for the victim complainants.
“There is a saying in the bet: House always wins. In pyramid schemes, the house and the close circle of the owner always wins,” it said in the indictment.
Doctors, retired military officers, former police officers, teachers and the manager of a hotel are also being tried as defendants in the case in which 1,176 people have filed complaints.
About 37 defendants are accused of “qualified fraud,” “establishing an organization to commit a crime” and “being a member of a crime organization.”