Many fell victim to the “OneCoin” cryptocurrency over promises that they could mine successfully if they purchased online education courses and procured referrals
Fok Fook Seng, a 52-year-old man based in Singapore, was fined $100,000 on Wednesday after local authorities discovered he had been promoting a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme.
In a news release last Thursday it was revealed that Seng was convicted on one count for “actively promoting” the schemes between January 2017 and June 2017.
People who took part in the scheme purchased packages that contained online education courses bundled with promotional tokens. The participants were told that these materials could be used to “mine” a purported OneCoin cryptocurrency for themselves.
In addition, the participants in the scheme were also incentivised to directly refer people and encourage their referrals to do likewise with the promise of receiving commissions.
Police revealed that Seng was found to have organised multiple seminars that promoted the scheme, which he also advertised on a public Facebook page called ‘OneLife One World Team Singapore’.
They added that he also participated in other large-scale events that promoted this scheme around the country.
“As at June 2017, there were 1,180 members in Singapore and other countries under his main account due to his own referral efforts and that of his team members.” the police explained.
Another man, who is currently unnamed, has also been charged with the same offence for also promoting the scheme. He faces one additional charge for incorporating a company to promote the MLM scheme.
Court proceedings for the case are still ongoing.
The police have advised the public to avoid dealing with unregulated entities or individuals when it comes to investment opportunities. This could leave them open to significant financial risk.
“If you choose to deal with unregulated entities or persons, you will forgo the protection available under MAS’ (Monetary Authority of Singapore) regulations.” they emphasised.
The police also issued a reminder to the public that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and have not been regulated by the MAS. Thus, no regulatory safeguards for personal investments exist for the industry.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, governments and other authorities have warned people around the world to remain cautious when it comes to investing their hard-earned money. There has been an increase in fraudulent schemes and other scams, particularly within the cryptocurrency industry. Some malicious actors have gone the extra mile and capitalised on the panic caused by COVID-19 to lure unsuspecting netizens in.