Eight arrested in connection to “Sener” bitcoin scam
Posed as a U.S.-based investment firm named “Sener”, eight men were able to scam more than 6,000 people out of cash and bitcoin worth upwards of $68 million.
The men arrested in Tokyo on Wednesday promised investors monthly returns between 3 to 20 percent based on the size of their initial investment. Victims of the scam, whose ages ranged between 40 and 72, were also offered greater returns by referring other investors to the company.
Overall, the scam spanned over 44 prefectures, with 73 victims coming forward to file a lawsuit seeking over $3 million in damages. The men were able to appear as a legitimate firm through the use of foreign speakers, and introductory videos posted to YouTube.
Japan’s cryptocurrency regulations, which are known to be fairly lax, are due to tighten following various cryptocurrency hacks that occured in the country this year, experts say. One such notable hack happened at Coincheck in January, when $500 million was stolen from investors.
In October, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has officially approved the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) as an official regulator for the cryptocurrency industry. It remains to be seen what actions JVCEA is willing to take to protect crypto investors from falling victims to similar hacks in the future.