Four South Koreans accused of stealing $1.9 billion from unsuspecting investors in an alleged digital currency pyramid scheme could spend the rest of their lives in prison if prosecutors in the Asian country have their way.
According to local reports, Korean prosecutors are asking for life sentences for the four former executives of V Global, a digital currency exchange that is alleged to have defrauded tens of thousands of investors in the country. The prosecutors believe that only a life sentence can reflect the severity of the crime that the four committed and for the destruction they caused the families of their victims.
V Global was a digital currency exchange that lured investors with promises of quick and guaranteed returns. According to local outlet Newsis, it promised 300% in returns for its users. To open an account, users had to deposit KRW6 million (about $5,300) and were guaranteed a minimum of KRW18 million ($16,000) in return.
Targeting quick growth and customer onboarding, V Global also offered KRW1.2 million ($1,006) for every new client its users brought onboard.
It kept its promise, in part, and paid off some of the early users. However, as investigators discovered, it was paying out early-stage investors with the money that late-stage investors committed, in a pyramid scheme manner.
According to authorities, the exchange brought on about 52,400 investors, and when it went down, the orchestrators had $1.87 billion. The investors claimed that it was much more, with some reports putting the numbers at 60,000 customers and $3.3 billion in losses.
Yonhap News Agency now reports that the prosecutors handling the case want no mercy shown to the four executives. They say that the four destroyed several families who had committed all their life savings and deserve to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
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