Daily fraud update: 28th January

Denise Jacksone

Tokyo police arrest two men over alleged fraud

Two men in the Japanese capital city of Tokyo have been taken into custody in the country following accusations that they carried out a bitcoin theft worth tens of millions of Japanese yen.

The pair, named in the Japanese press as Yuto Onitsuka and Takuma Sasaki, are accused of taking funds from a cryptocurrency management company in Tokyo.

In total, they are accused of stealing around 78m Japanese yen which is equivalent to more than $700,000, or around £550,000.

Sasaki in particular is accused of using login details belonging to Onitsuka to access the bitcoin – which was allegedly stolen all in one go in October 2018.

It is alleged that the crypto was then cashed out using a range of exchanges based both in Japan and abroad.

Sasaki allegedly then spent it on a range of purposes including travel.

However, some elements of the alleged fraud remain unusual or mysterious.

There is as yet no clear explanation for how Onitsuka gained the login credentials, or indeed whether or not Onitsuka derived financial gain from the alleged scam.

It is alleged that Onitsuka used the internet to express a desire to cause financial hardship for the firm of digital asset providers he was working for.

The men, who met via an internet forum rather than in real life, are both in their 20s.

As yet, there has been no official confirmation of the name of the crypto company affected.

Crypto sales firm sentenced at South Korean trial

A company accused of selling a large amount of fake cryptocurrency has been sentenced at a trial in South Korea.

The firm, which offered a cryptocurrency called “A Coin”, is believed to have offered crypto assets which could in fact not be exchanged for any sort of real financial value.

Despite the fact that the two defendants claimed to traders that the cryptocurrency could be exchanged for a range of fiat currencies including the Japanese yen and the euro, this was untrue.

There was not even any original technology behind it, according to press reports.

A trial at the 4th Criminal Justice of the Seoul Central District Court has seen the firm’s two directors, named in the crypto press as Lee and Kim, hit with a range of punishments.

They will both face seven years in prison.

Lee will have to pay 1.2bn won, while Kim will need to pay 144m won.

The pair carried out their fraud in the period between December 2016 and April 2019.

In the trial, they were accused of selling almost 20,000 A Coins.

It is believed that they managed to scam nearly 6,000 victims.

According to one source familiar with the case, the “multi-stage” element of the process was used in the defence of the two men.

“They don’t accept the claim because they [are] convinced that they sold A Coin in a multi-stage manner”, the source was quoted as saying.

However, Judge Hong Jun-Seo did not agree – and found the pair guilty of carrying out fraud.

Denise Jacksone

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