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Philippines Deports Mastermind of $33 Million Bitcoin Pyramid Scheme

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:47 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:47 PM

The Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines had ordered the deportation of a South Korean national who is wanted in South Korea over his involvement in a bitcoin pyramid scheme.

Identified as Go Yongsung, the South Korean was arrested in the city of Las Pinas. According to Jaime Morente, a Bureau of Immigration Commissioner, the arrest was conducted by the Fugitive Search Unit of the government agency. A warrant had already been issued by a district court in South Korea for his arrest prior to his capture, according to Manila Bulletin .

Per documents obtained from the authorities, Go and other accomplices defrauded South Koreans of over US$33 million by promising huge returns if they invested in bitcoin between December 2015 and June 2016. According to the authorities Go, who is 48, used a firm which was operating in Pasay City as a front in his fraudulent scheme.

Crackdown on Fugitives of Justice

After the arrest, Morente warned that the bureau would not relent in its efforts to ensure criminals faced justice regardless of which jurisdiction they committed their crimes in.

“We reiterate our warning to all foreign criminals who are hiding in the country. The long arm of the law will eventually catch you and we will send you back to your homelands so you will be meted punishment for your crimes,” said Morente.

Besides the South Korean national, the Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines also nabbed another fugitive of justice, a Chinese national. Named Lian Lilong, the Chinese national who is also set to be deported, was, however, on the run for unspecified economic crimes.

Unsustainable Guaranteed Returns

As CCN.com has previously reported, a couple of bitcoin pyramid schemes have been unearthed in South Korea in the past few years. In April this year, for instance, two unnamed individuals were fined millions of dollars by a court in South Korea for operating such a scheme and generating approximately US$24 million in the process from unsuspecting investors.

Last year in November, seven South Koreans were also arrested in Jeonbuk Province for a running a Ponzi scheme which generated approximately US$38 million over a period of under 24 months. Just like with most bitcoin pyramid schemes the world over, the scam that the seven were operating was promising investors guaranteed returns of up to 200%.

The scheme had started operations in January 2016 and mainly targeted middle-aged investors. According to police, nearly 4,000 investors lost their money to the fraudsters.