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Illegal XRP Exchange Operator Jailed for Eight Years in South Korea

An illegal XRP exchange operator has been sentenced to jail for eight years in South Korea after duping investors out of almost $3.4 million.

The unnamed operator stole almost $2 million of the total from one individual, prosecutors explained in a trial at the Seoul High Court.

Illegal XRP Exchange Told Customers it Had a Deal With Ripple

The court upheld the verdict of a Seoul District Court. This court earlier sentenced the operator to 12 years in jail, Namdo Ilbo reported.

However, the High Court judge ruled that the operator had taken steps to compensate one of their victims, and so reduced the sentence accordingly.

The operator can now accept the verdict or appeal the judgment at the Supreme Court.

The South Korean Supreme Court. (Source Pectus Solentis {Balibandi}[CC-BY-SA-2.0-kr])

The High Court heard that the accused became the CEO of a “domestic cryptocurrency exchange” in 2015.

The exchange “advertised” that it had “signed a formal supply agreement with” the XRP token issuer Ripple and Ripple Labs.

The court heard that an individual referred to as B (for legal reasons) sent the exchange fiat worth around $2 million in 2015.

The CEO told B they could pay 20% less than the market rate for the coins. However, the CEO convinced B to keep the coins on the exchange’s platform.

XRP prices over the past seven days.

XRP prices over the past seven days. (Source: CoinMarketCap)

In 2017, the exchange told B that he could boost his XRP 2.35 million holdings to 3 million in three months. B was told they could do so by lending the coins to another victim (C).

The coins were worth around $700,000 at the time, the media outlet reported.

More Victims Fell Victim to Fraud

The CEO also duped another investor, named D by the court. The operator, prosecution officials explained, duped D into handing over XRP coins in a loan deal.

But instead of paying back this loan, the CEO traded D’s XRP for Bitcoin. He then sent the BTC to a wallet registered in his son’s name.

The court said that some of the victims had “suffered enormous damage through no fault of their own.”

Police were unable to recover most of the lost coins and fiat.

📑 Local media reports that South Korea is taking decisive measures to combat the surge in cryptocurrency-related crimes and fraud cases by moving to establish its temporary virtual asset investigative unit as a permanent entity.This move co…https://t.co/yd7EObgib1

— Cryptonews.com (@cryptonews) April 29, 2024

CEO ‘Skipped Bail Before Re-arrest’

Witnesses also testified that the CEO had tried to convince them to make “false statements” absolving him of guilt.

The CEO then tried to escape justice by “requesting a postponement of the sentencing date” and “asking for time to compensate for the damage.”

When judges granted his requests, he took the opportunity to skip bail and go into hiding, before he was eventually rearrested two years later.

In sentencing, the presiding High Court judge said:

“The defended has shown no signs of remorse. He has also shown serious disregard for the law, so he needs to be punished severely.”

🇰🇷 USDT OTC ‘Thieves’ Arrested in South Korea’s Gangnam District

Police in Gangnam, an affluent district of Seoul, South Korea, have arrested 10 people accused of stealing money in a bogus USDT OTC trade.#CryptoNews #SouthKoreahttps://t.co/1rQB8FIo6M

— Cryptonews.com (@cryptonews) April 2, 2024

In February 2023, the CEO of a fake crypto bank was given a 10-year jail term after cheating thousands of South Korean investors out of a total of $181 million.

In January 2023, the Supreme Court sent the head of V Global, another fake crypto exchange that also defrauded thousands of investors, to prison for 25 years.

The head of another crypto exchange, Bitsonic, was jailed for seven years for price manipulation in February this year.

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