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Haider Jamal

May 31, 2024

127 Scammers Arrested As Part Of Turkish Crypto Crackdown

The Turkish Interior Minister disclosed a significant crackdown on a crypto scamming platform in Ankara on Thursday. The operation targeted an alleged Ponzi scheme that has illicitly obtained over $1 billion in recent years.

Minister Ali Yerlikaya revealed that more than 100 individuals were apprehended in Ankara as part of operation CYBERGÖZ-42, which exposed the fraudulent activities of Smart Trade Coin STC within the country.

 

Another Ponzi Scheme

The scam allegedly involved enticing investors with promises of high profits and zero risks, purportedly guaranteed by the stop loss feature of the platform and advanced trading bots facilitating automatic transactions.

However, investigations revealed that the platform operated as a conventional Ponzi scheme, defrauding users of billions of dollars. Existing investors were incentivized to bring in new participants, whose investments sustained the scheme. Authorities conducted the operation across 21 provinces of Ankara, detaining 127 suspects for international fraud and money laundering. They seized assets worth 1 billion Turkish Lira, including properties, movable assets, unlicensed firearms, and various cryptocurrencies.

 

A Fraudulent History

Smart Trade Coin had faced allegations of fraudulent activities since 2021, with numerous complaints by Turkish investors. Despite protests and legal actions, including criminal complaints and estimated losses of $2 billion, no action had been taken.

Victims reported being coerced into taking loans and selling assets under false promises of substantial monthly profits, leading to financial ruin. In 2023, AI Multiple Research flagged Smart Trade Coin as a likely scam due to its unrealistic claims and opaque business practices. Cem Dilmegani, Head Analyst at AI Multiple, criticized the malicious marketing tactics and lack of transparency, concluding that it had operated as a scam all along.

 

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