The crypto world has been shaken up. Now authorities are pressing charges in a coin fraud case abroad, that could have easily happened in Switzerland.
The collapse of the popular crypto exchange FTX has already sent the world into shock. The 30-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried, who acted in the highest circles of politics and business, is even alleged to have committed fraud.
Authorities are currently sweeping up the remnants of the case involving globally-convoluted corporate constructions.
So here comes a message about a fraud case to the portal muula.ch, which has happened in Germany, but could well have happened in Switzerland.
The scam is relatively simple and should be a warning to everyone to always show a healthy distrust on the Internet.
The public prosecutor’s office in the northern German city of Flensburg has charged the 26-year-old operator of a dating portal with aggravated gang-related fraud.
It accuses him of operating a flirt site on which registered users could only chat with employees – without knowing it.
At no time was it possible to exchange messages with other members on the portal who were actually interested in flirting. In order to send them, users even had to buy ‘Flirtcoins’.
Each message cost about one euro, as various media reported on the case. Swiss people could also have used all of this via the World-Wide-Web and thus fallen in.
According to the indictment, the partner exchange made it a point to keep paying members in the conversations as long as possible. To this end, the moderators received special training and instructions on how to make customers believe that they were chatting with ‘real’ people.
The head of the Flensburg public prosecutor’s office, Stephanie Gropp, now told the current edition of the German newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” about the case, which was complicated for the authorities, and that “extremely elaborate investigations” had been necessary to shed light on the business model in the first place.
This is actually always the case with the big insolvency cases in the crypto world – from Voyager Digital to Celsius Network and now FTX, as muula.ch also reported earlier.
No protection of carelessness
At the Flensburg police headquarters, a special ‘dating’ investigation group was set up, which even tapped phones and conducted undercover investigations. “We tried to bring all the means to bear that the criminal procedure code provides for,” Gropp said. “There is no other way to uncover such business models,” the prosecutor stressed.
The businessman’s defense attorney, Friedrich Fülscher, however, sees the legal situation even differently.
“Criminal law is not there to protect citizens from their boundless carelessness. Anyone who ignores obvious facts and initially derives a benefit from such communications for months should not see himself as a victim afterwards,” Fülscher told the German paper.
Ashamed of good faith?
This almost sounds like the details that are now coming out about the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX. Users did not have to buy any ‘Flirtcoins’ there, but the FTX’s in-house token FTT, in order to get advantages, such as cheaper trading fees.
Ultimately, however, the accounts pretended that the deposited money of the users was also there, although it was – apparently – gambled away elsewhere in the background.
“As a witness in such proceedings, you will have to be prepared for many unpleasant questions about the specific content of the chats,” warned the lawyer of ‘Flirtcoins’.
It almost sounds like a threat that users had better be ashamed of their gullibility on the internet.