Taiwan’s police administration arrested 14 people in connection with a cryptocurrency investment scam that defrauded investors out of about $5.41 million, according to a report from local Taiwan news site, the Taipei Times.
The report, which cited information from Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, said that the suspects face charges of both fraud and money laundering.
According to CIB investigator Kuo Yu-chih, a businessman with the last name “Chen” led the scheme and promoted cryptocurrency investments on social media. Chen also allegedly ran Taipei-based Azure Crypto Co, a platform that offered cryptocurrency transaction services.
“Chen and his staff set up web sites, and allegedly used photographs of pretty women to attract mainly male victims, many of whom were in retirement with substantial savings,” Kuo told the Taipei Times.
Additionally, Chen and his staff presented themselves as financial advisers who specialized in mining cryptocurrencies, Kuo said.
The alleged fraudster focused on ether, tether, and tronix, and promised victims high investment returns through blockchain technology, he added.
According to the Taipei Times, more than 100 people were caught up in the scam, and one person who lost the most had invested over $1 million in two months.
The news comes as cases of fraud in the cryptocurrency space hit record highs. An analysis last week found that 32 incidents of hacks and fraud for a total value of $2.99 billion have taken place so far in 2021. That’s on course to break the 38 cases tallied in 2020.