South Korean Police Shut Down ‘170-victim Robot-themed Crypto Scam’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
A robotic hand holding a pile of gold-colored coins intended to represent cryptoassets.
Source: DrArt/Adobe

Police in South Korea have arrested a group of people they suspect of duping 170 “crypto investors” – by posing as cryptoasset-issuing robot developers.

Per Joongang Ilbo, the Jeonnam Police Agency, officers made at least two arrests, with a 63-year-old and a 36-year-old charged with fraud-related offenses.

The alleged masterminds have been handed over to prosecutors, who are now investigating the case.

Officers think the group managed to raise almost $3 million from their victims, promising lucrative rewards.

Police said the group tried to convince victims that it developed robots and artificial intelligence software.

Police spokespeople said that the group began advertising a bogus coin in 2021, and sought to “recruit investors” through “false advertisements and robot exhibitions.”

The group also allegedly held “investment briefing sessions” at locations across the country.

Police explained the group claimed their firm had signed a contract to supply robots.

The group allegedly claimed it would send robots to more than 5,000 residential and care home facilities.

But detectives said that the robots one of the alleged masterminds claimed to have developed was actually made by “a large domestic robotics company.”

Police said that one of the alleged masterminds had purchased a robot from the aforementioned developer and made “cosmetic” changes to the device.

Officers claimed that the masterminds had “in particular” targetted “low-income individuals,” including “elderly citizens.”

The masterminds allegedly claimed that their coin would “soon be listed on South Korean and American exchanges.”

Robot-themed Crypto ‘Scam’ – What Were South Korean ‘Victims’ Promised?

The group reportedly told victims that they could expect to “at least double” their money when making coin purchases.

But officers said the group had “already used part of the investment stakes for personal purposes.”

Officers said they were “collecting and holding” money they had recovered from the group.

And they said they were “expanding the investigation” as detectives search for “accomplices.”

A Jeonnam Police Agency spokesperson said:

“Recently, there has been a rise in similar crytpoasset-related fraud cases […] that target ordinary people trying to improve their economic conditions. The public should be especially careful [of crypto-related projects that] guarantee investors high profits.”

Earlier this month, a South Korean woman was handed a suspended jail term after she was found guilty of stealing her ex-husband’s crypto.

Another suspected scam was shut down in the city of Daegu this month, with local forces arresting 25 people.