A Swedish man was arrested in Thailand this Friday over an alleged cryptocurrency scam.
Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson was taken into custody on Koh Chang, an island off the coast of Thailand that is popular with backpackers.
According to US authorities, Karlsson opened an investment website, Eastern Metal Securities, with 12 other people back in 2013.
He falsely claimed that he was selling gold investment products that would, by this author’s estimate, provide a 450-fold return. If this did not happen, Karlsson said, he would return a minimum of 97 percent of funds invested.
Significantly, the Swede directed his clients to ‘invest’ using bitcoin. Karlsson was probably hoping those transactions would be anonymous and make it impossible to track him down.
Real estate magnate
The group managed to get 3,575 ‘customers’ to use their services. Those people are estimated to have deposited over $11 million.
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After they had received a sufficient number of deposits, the group of alleged scammers shut down the website and ran off with their clients’ cash.
According to the US Justice Department, Karlsson put the funds into real estate in Thailand.
Because of this, Karlsson was placed on an Interpol wanted list for fraud and money laundering. US authorities also issued a wanted notice for him in March of this year after one of his victims complained to local authorities.
And after American investigators informed local police that Karlsson had fled with his Thai wife to Koh Chang, they went to arrest him.
The alleged fraudster is likely to be extradited to the US in the next couple of days. According to The Phuket News, Karlsson admitted to running the site under interrogation.
If prosecutors really bring the cosh down on him, Karlsson could face over 20 years in prison.