Daily fraud update: 15th January

Chris Lee

Directors of closed-down Ugandan cryptocurrency firm end up charged

Two directors of a cryptocurrency firm in Uganda which has since been closed down are facing charges from the authorities.

DunamisCoin was an investment platform based around cryptocurrency, but it has since gone out of business after it was alleged that the scheme was in fact a scam.

Allegedly, DunamisCoin was responsible for taking investment cash from individuals and telling them that they could receive a maximum of 30% interest in just three weeks or so.

Many investors supposedly came forward to participate, with the range of amounts being deposited starting at $270– but going as high as $2,710.

Now, authorities in the country have received 4,000 registered complaints against two suspects, both of whom are directors.

The pair are accused of having taken sums of around 140m Ugandan shillings – which is equal to approximately £29,000 or $38,100– from the scheme, which has been described in some press outlets as a “pyramid scheme”.

The alleged scam supposedly took place between February 2018 and December 2019.

Some cash which was still placed in the firm’s accounts had been taken out – but most of it had been withdrawn already.

In an unexpected twist, some people who used to work for the two accused directors at the firm are now suggesting that the two were a front – and that four other people were really behind the scam.

Crypto boss claims he was kidnapped in Thailand

A businessman from Singapore who operates in the cryptocurrency field claims that he was kidnapped on a visit to Thailand – and held for ransom before he was released.

Mark Cheng, who is 33 years old, claims he was kidnapped by a Thai person who held him hostage at what was described in the press as a “deserted place”.

The ransom was eventually paid, but according to Cheng this was not enough – and he was supposedly threatened with death.

Cheng says that he was tortured during the incident and had to make a transfer of $742,000 worth of Bitcoin.

He says he later managed to escape despite the fact that his kidnappers supposedly possessed firearms.

He ascribed his ability to retaliate against his attackers to his skill in martial arts.

Once he escaped, he claims he approached a person on the street who then took him to a police station in the Nakhon Nayok Ongkharak district close to Bangkok.

However, there have already been some question marks raised over his account of the incident.

According to a press outlet based in Singapore, the ransom paid was actually as relatively low as $60,000.

Cheng himself is already accused of committing fraud too, which has raised the possibility of the incident being fabricated for some reason.

He stands accused of misappropriation of funds totalling around $300,000. It is alleged that he took these funds from a circle of investors he collaborated with several years ago.

Chris Lee

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