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$250 Million Ethereum Mining Scam? Korean Prosecutors File Charges

Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:02 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:02 PM

Korean prosecutors have reportedly filed charges against several individuals associated with Mining Max, US-based cryptocurrency mining firm allegedly behind a major cryptocurrency mining scam.

According to a report by Korean publication Yonhap , authorities at the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office have indicted 21 individuals suspected of being associated with Mining Max LLC, a US-based firm, on charges of fraud and allegedly soliciting 270 billion won (approx. $250 million) from investors across the world for an Ethereum mining operation promising large returns. Three others have been indicted without detention for embezzlement and other charges.

Mining Max presents itself as the developer of “premium cryptocurrency mining” machines headquartered in California. “All of the mining rigs are assembled and maintained in our Internet Data Centers (IDC) in Korea,” the company claims on its website.

The allegedly sweeping scam also entails seven other Korean and foreign nationals, now on Interpol’s wanted list, of being associated with Mining Max and blotching results that purported to mine more Ethereum than the operation actually did.  The scam unraveled when the company was no longer able to make sufficient returns from its ‘mining’ operation, presumably in its dividends to new investors.

Altogether, prosecutors allege that the suspects pocketed a significant portion of the $250 million, amassed from roughly 18,000 investors in 54 countries between September last year and October this year.

Authorities further claimed that Mining Max only spent 75 billion won, approximately $70 million of the $250 million, for its mining operation. The company’s executives are also suspected of having tucked away 100 billion won, approx. $92 million, in offshore accounts. Further, ‘top-performing’ investors were allegedly paid up to 4 billion won (approx. $3,7 million) alongside luxury perks in Rolex watches and Mercedes Benz automobiles, Yonhap’s report added.

Prosecutors estimate the scam sees approximately 14,000 investors in Korea, 2,600 in the United States, 600 in China, and 700 from other countries, including Japan.

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