Bitcoin is a risky investment, but for one young crypto millionaire, traditional forms of investing into assets such a casino and company stock turned out to be even riskier.
According to Bangkok Post, a 22-year-old Finnish man called Aarni Otava Saarimaa lost a total of 5,564.4 bitcoins (worth roughly 24 million dollars at the time) to scammers in Thailand.
In June 2017, Saarimaa was approached by a group who convinced him to send him the bitcoins, the report claims, quoting findings by Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division’s (CSD), which has been conducting an investigation into the case for six months.
Saarimaa believed he was investing in shares of three companies, a casino and a new cryptocurrency called Dragon Coins, but after seeing no returns at all, his business partner Chonnikan Kaeosali filed a complaint to the CSD.
As it turned out, the group converted the bitcoins into Thai currency, deposited it into accounts belonging to seven suspects, and spent some of it on plots of land.
The group of fraudsters, which the police believe numbers nine people, allegedly includes Thai actor Jiratpisit ‘Boom’ Jaravijit, who was arrested in July, and two of his siblings, one of which has left the country. The siblings face money laundering charges and, potentially, fraud charges.
It’s worth noting that, even though cryptocurrencies were involved, this appears to be the type of fraud that’s far more complex than your typical “please send bitcoins” e-mail. For example, the group of fraudsters had at one point brought Saarimaa to a Macao casino in order to convince him the Dragon Coins would be used there.
The fact that bitcoins were involved did complicate matters for the investigators, though. “We had to carefully examine documents and trace the money trail (…) it took us almost seven months to get approval for the arrest warrants for the first group,” CSD deputy commander Pol Col Chakrit told Bangkok Post.
Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.