25.06.2021

Thai ‘Cryptocurrency Wizard’ Nabbed for Alleged Role in $16M Heist

The Bangkok Post reports on Sept. 5 that police nabbed Mana Jumuang, who has been under an arrest warrant since Aug. 23, while he was playing soccer in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district yesterday.

A 48-year old Thai man who called himself the “cryptocurrency wizard” has been arrested in Bangkok over his alleged role in a 500 million baht ($16.3 million) crypto exchange fraud.

A $16.3 million scheme with victims across 10 countries

According Pol Maj Gen Jiraphop Phuridet, commander of the Bangkok police’s Crime Suppression Division, Jumuang is accused of being part of a Thai-Vietnamese criminal group that targeted victims across at least 10 Asian countries, including South Korea and Vietnam.

Four members of the group are alleged to be Vietnamese and three Thai.

Their scheme involved persuading targets to invest in cryptocurrencies through them, with each group member assuming responsibility for a particular role – such as opening bank accounts and posing as digital asset investors.

Victims initially received returns on their investments, but contact with the group was then abruptly cut off, the police claim.

The sum total of victims’ reported losses is estimated at 500 million baht ($16.3 million). Jumuang is himself accused of having spent some of the ill-gotten funds to purchase land in Thailand’s Phichit province.

Police continue to pursue the two other Thai suspects, while the four Vietnamese members are believed to have already fled the country, Pol Maj Gen Jiraphop Phuridet revealed.

2018: a celebrity crypto fraud family affair

While Mana Jumuang may have devised an illustrious-sounding nickname for himself, last summer a bonafide Thai celebrity was arrested for his alleged role in 797 million baht ($24.6 million) Bitcoin investment heist.

27-year-old Thai soap-opera star Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit was arrested on money-laundering charges after working with six accomplices – including his siblings – to allegedly lure investors into investing their crypto into a gambling-focused token, without ever providing them with returns.

SEC’s Overstock’s ICO Probe ‘Dormant’ Since Late 2018, CEO Says

Patrick Byrne’s exit from Overstock has nothing to do with the allegedly ongoing regulatory investigation, the firm’s interim CEO said.

No requests since December 2018

Overstock’s interim CEO Jonathan Johnson claimed that the alleged probe by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) appears to be “almost dormant” to date as the authority has not asked on the matter since December 2018, Fox Business reported on Sept. 3.

Johnson clarified that Overstock has not had requests for information from the SEC’s enforcement division for almost a year, adding that the company spent a “king’s ransom to process their requests for information to put this to bed.”

SEC gives no clarity again

According to the report, Johnson met with SEC officials in late June to put an end to the investigation or at least get a better picture of its status. However, the company is reportedly still awaiting feedback from the federal securities regulator.

While a SEC representative declined to comment on the news to Fox Business, Johnson believes the state of the nearly two-year investigation is not active, according to recent conversations with the regulator, the report notes.

The SEC investigation was first revealed by Overstock’s crypto subsidiary tZERO in mid-December 2017. Following the probe reports, Overstock’s shares saw a significant decline, as reported in March 2018.

Meanwhile, Byrne’s withdrawal from Overstock on Aug. 22 has allegedly caused the company’s key investor Makara Capital to back out from the deal on Aug. 26 after revealing its ambiguous investment plans back in August 2018.

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