A 48-year old Thai citizen has been arrested in the capital of Bangkok for his role in a cryptocurrency exchange-related scam that defrauded customers of 500 million Thai baht (approximately US$16 million).
Mana Jumuang, who has also been known to go by the name the ‘cryptocurrency wizard’, was part of a larger gang of conmen from both Thailand and Vietnam. Over the course of several months, the men conned thousands of citizens from across South East Asia with promises of returns on cryptocurrency investments that never materialized. It is believed that the conmen used their victims’ money for personal purchases and investments like land.
A report from the local publication “The Bangkok Post” alleges that Jumuang may have attempted to buy property in the Thai province of Phichit with money accrued from the scam. Local police are currently hunting for other members of the gang, although it is uncertain at this time if any funds have been recovered.
Rising Crypto Crime
Earlier this year it was reported that a potential US$4.3 billion in losses have occurred as a result of cryptocurrency-related crime. According to a report from CypherTrace, the largest single crypto-related crime that occurred this year was that of the PlusToken scam. The shocking pyramid scheme, details of which were revealed in early July, involved six Chinese cyber-criminals who managed to extract $2.9 billion worth of funds from over 100,000 unsuspecting victims before disappearing with the money.
Scams of this type are on the increase in the China and South East Asia, where unwitting investors are eager to buy cryptocurrency in the hopes of ‘getting rich quick.’ Difficulties in monitoring online activities and lack of strict regulations in countries like Vietnam and Thailand make them prime target locations for cybercriminals. Pol Maj Gen Jiraphop Phuridet, from local law enforcement in Thailand, arrested Jumuang while he was playing football in the Huai Khwang district. Police are hunting for two remaining suspects but believe four Vietnamese suspects have already escaped the country.
Mark Hartley is a Microsoft-qualified IT professional and freelance writer specializing in travel and technology. He has traveled to 53 countries worldwide and spent time working on the trading floors of some of the biggest interdealer brokers in London, where he helped integrate cryptocurrency technology into the IT trading infrastructure. You can contact him on twitter @splshrollstmble or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. *All information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as financial advice.
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