Victims of a cryptocurrency-structured pyramid scheme in Turkey have filed a lawsuit after they lost 200 million liras ($25.2 million) investing a fake national digital currency, Turcoin.
According to a local news source, daily Hürriyet, Turkish prosecutors successfully indicted the 37 persons believed to be the mastermind of the pyramid scheme which launched sometime in 2018 and raised money from 12,000 people within the space of six months.
The promise was that the victims were investing in a cryptocurrency that will eventually become Turkey’s “national” alternative digital currency, while in the actual sense, no such digital currency existed.
To make their ploy sound real to investors, Sadun Kaya and Muhammet Satıroğlu, the principal persons behind the scheme posed as wealthy businessmen and founders of a company that had some 25 million customers and an income of $5 billion around the globe.
Meetings were reportedly held in luxury hotels in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, with attendees prompted to invest their money in the coin. Additional rewards were offered to members if they could recruit others, with some victims eventually selling their cars and houses to invest in the pyramid scheme.
A certain Orhan Akbulut, now listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, had collected 5 million liras ($632,000) from some of his doctor friends, promising them high yields on their investments.
However, the Ponzi scheme died out within six months, attracting thousands of investors who trusted earlier investors that had received returns on their initial investments.
The masterminds behind the scheme are now under police custody while doctors, teachers, former police officers, and a host of other civil servants make up the rest of the defendants in the case. Meanwhile, the daily Hürriyet reports that 1,176 people have filed complaints in the case.
In a similar development, Coinfomania reported in August that US prosecutors were seeking a $6.5 million refund from another crypto-related Ponzi scheme dubbed Banana.Fund.