$15 900 000 USD
DESCRIPTION OF EVENTS
"In a separate incident occurring in June 2021, a man was cheated out of HK$124M by two men and a woman promising enormous returns for an investment in a cryptocurrency called Filecoin." The "case involved [a] businessman who police said met three fraudsters posing as investment consultants through a friend. He was lured into investing in Filecoin and promised considerable profits."
"In the case of the 30-year-old merchant who lost HK$124 million, the victim was approached by two men and a woman in their 30s introducing themselves as investment consultants. They recommended investing in Filecoin on the basis it would deliver big returns, Superintendent Wilson Fan Chun-yi said."
"Between February and April, he deposited HK$124 million into the fraudsters' bank accounts in two installments." "The victim handed over money in two instalments in February and April."
"When the victim discovered that he could not withdraw his funds following a crash in the price of Filecoin and the so-called investors were nowhere to be found, he alerted authorities."
"In June, he tried to cash out after Filecoin's value dropped from US$168 (HK$1,310) to US$73, but the fraudsters disappeared." "Filecoin’s share price dropped from US$168 to US$73, prompting the victim in June to try and withdraw the cash. But the merchant could not contact the group and sought help from police."
"“Citizens should think twice about whether the person asking them to make an investment is trustworthy, or whether meetup places for large transactions are safe,” Ip said.
In June of 2021, a man in Hong Kong thought he bought some filecoin, however the people he bought it from were unknown individuals who later couldn't be found, and hadn't actually sold him any filecoin. It's unclear if the thieves were caught and it does not appear that any funds were returned.
HOW COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED?
The primary failure was that no actual cryptocurrency was delivered by the anonymous "investors". This type of fraud could be solved with any sort of registry for the different platforms available.
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3143394/cryptocurrency-crime-hong-kong-hits-record-levels-one (May 31)
Suspect Arrested in Hong Kong for Scamming Crypto Trader out of HK$1.5M (May 31)
Crypto scam losses total $124m, claims young businessman | The Standard (Jul 3)