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NT$150 million Taiwan investment fraud busted

Fraudsters trick victims to invest via fake company Fasonla

(Unsplash, DrawKit Illustrations photo)

(Unsplash, DrawKit Illustrations photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A crime ring suspected of swindling investors out of NT$150 million (US$4.67 million) in an online investment fraud in Taiwan has been busted, said the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) on Saturday (Sept. 23).

Members of the crime organization claimed to be consultants at a Hong Kong-based company called “Fasonla,” which does not exist. They ran Facebook advertising to solicit victims, who were asked to join a LINE group and register at a fake website to invest in U.S. dollars and futures, per CNA.

The funds would then be transferred via online banking multiple times using dummy accounts. Cryptocurrencies such as Tether (USDT) were exploited in money laundering transactions that can be completed in 30 minutes and conducted anonymously, said police.

More than 30 fell victim to the fraud, in which the amount of ill-gotten profit exceeded NT$150 million. A total of 13 scammers in the ring, led by a man surnamed Huang (黃), were apprehended in two raids, in May and July, respectively.

The arrests were made before Huang had planned to flee, according to Taichung prosecutors. The con artists now face prosecution over fraud and money laundering charges.