June 15, 2024

In a significant development, Turkish Minister of Interior, Ali Yerlikaya, disclosed on Thursday that a large-scale operation was carried out against a crypto scam in Ankara. This alleged Ponzi scheme had reportedly swindled people of more than $1 billion over the past few years.

The Crypto Scam Bust

In an announcement, Minister of Interior, Ali Yerlikaya, stated that the fraudsters had been taken into custody during an operation labeled “CYBERGÖZ-42”. This operation exposed the scams perpetuated by Smart Trade Coin STC.

The fraudulent crypto platform had been promising investors high returns with zero risk. The company reassured its customers that their investments were safe courtesy of a “Stop loss” function and “advanced trading bots” that would carry out automatic buy and sell transactions.

crypto, crypto scam

The announcement of operation ‘CYBERGÖZ-42’. Source: Ali Yerlikaya on X

The investigation, however, unearthed that the platform was merely a traditional Ponzi scheme that had managed to steal more than $1 billion or 32 billion Turkish Lira from the public. Investors were lured with the promise of making a profit if they were able to bring new customers to the crypto platform. Money from new investors was used to feed the Ponzi scheme.

The operation was conducted across 21 provinces of Ankara, which led to the arrest of 127 people suspected of international fraud related to a Ponzi scheme and laundering of criminally acquired assets. During the operation, 177 immovable and 61 movable assets worth 1 billion Turkish Lira were seized along with an unlicensed gun, a blank firearm gun, and several crypto assets.

History of Scams Associated with Smart Trade Coin

Smart Trade Coin has been under the scanner for quite some time with many Turkish investors voicing their concerns about the company’s unethical practices. The Kocaeli Newspaper reported that several criminal complaints had been filed against the platform. In fact, 50 people once staged a protest against Smart Trade Coin outside the Ankara Courthouse.

According to the victims’ lawyer, Yagiz Kaya, over 50,000 people in Turkey had fallen prey to the company’s scam and despite multiple complaints and the loss of an estimated $2 billion, no action was taken at that time.

Many victims were reportedly pushed to take loans and sell their personal assets like houses or cars with the assurance of making a monthly profit of 36 percent. However, instead of reaping any benefits, a majority of the customers were left with nothing, ending up in substantial debt.

In 2023, AI Multiple Research, a data analysis and research platform, shared a report on Smart Trade Coin, highlighting the platform as a probable crypto scam and advising the public not to invest in the same.

Cem Dilmegani, the Head Analyst at AI Multiple, questioned the company’s ambiguous business practices and misleading marketing methods, indicating that the company may have been a scam from the very beginning.

crypto, TOTAL, BTC

The total crypto market capitalization stands at $2.46 trillion as per the three-day chart. Source: TOTAL on TradingView

Featured Image from Unsplash.com, Chart from TradingView.com

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Ponzi Scheme?

A Ponzi scheme, named after Charles Ponzi who became notorious for using the technique in the 1920s, is a fraudulent investment strategy. It focuses on generating returns for early investors through the capital invested by newer investors. The scheme usually offers high returns with little or no risk.

What is Smart Trade Coin?

Smart Trade Coin is a cryptocurrency trading platform. They positioned themselves as a platform offering high returns through advanced trading bots and safety measures. However, it has been under scrutiny for fraudulent practices and is considered a scam by many.

What is Operation ‘CYBERGÖZ-42’?

Operation ‘CYBERGÖZ-42’ is a mission conducted by Turkish authorities to bust the scam perpetrated by Smart Trade Coin. In the operation, authorities arrested more than 100 suspects and confiscated numerous assets tied to the scheme.