Seven V Global executives have been found guilty of misappropriating 2 trillion KRW ($1.9 billion) in the latest verdict on Friday, as per reports. While the six of them will serve varying jail-time of up to 14 years, former CEO Lee Byung-gul has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.
The development comes as prosecutors have been pushing the court to punish the accused with life imprisonment. Earlier this year, they were already fined to the tune of over 2.2 trillion won, as per the local reports. Prosecutors had said,
“The defendants systematically and deliberately committed crimes against the elderly or young people who did not have guaranteed retirement age. We are appealing.”
With over 52,000 victims in the investment fraud, Daegun law firm, which represents the V Global investors told Forkast,
“Most of the victims were middle-aged or senior citizens who dreamed of a stable life after retirement.”
It is worth noting that V Global, a cryptocurrency exchange, was actually a pyramid scheme that recruited members to illegally carry promises of returns of up to three times as dividends on investment of millions in domestic currency. Some executives were previously nabbed with most employees under investigation for violating the Act on the Regulation of Similar Reception Act, fraud, and violation of the Door-to-Door Sales Act.
The lawyer also revealed that at least one victim has committed suicide after being scammed. He further added,
“There were a lot of cases where a family member or a close friend recommended [V Global] to another.”
Last year, the country’s police had noted that 38 people have filed complaints with the local investigative agency as scammers tempted investors with quick crypto profits. There were around 470 victims who fell prey to similar smaller scams. It is reported that many elderly victims have also lost funds with total losses to the tune of 2 billion won.
Han also commented,
“I am not sure if there will be another case [this grand], but I think this sentencing will become an important benchmark.”
Furthermore, MLM schemes are popular financial instruments in many Asian countries along with chit fund schemes, that now include crypto, as they act as a rotating tool of investment. Where earlier investors get some portion of their money back as they add new members and accept deposits from them.