The alleged leader of what police believe to be a ethereum (ETH) mining scam masquerading as a bona fide “pool” has fled abroad.
Per Yonhap, officers said that a man, aged 44 but not identified for legal reasons, had left the country in late June – around the time that the police began to investigate the “pool.” Named Ethlot.me, the “pool” claimed to allow investors the chance to buy ethereum and bitcoin (BTC) mining rigs, which a firm named Ethlot would operate on their behalf in overseas mining centers. These centers, they claimed, were mainly located in Kazakhstan and Russia.
The “pool” published numerous videos and pictures of these “mining centers” in operation.
The company, which has a brick-and-mortar office in Seoul’s Seocho District, has failed to respond to multiple Cryptonews.com contact requests. The telephone numbers associated with the company also appear to be unmanned.
Ethlot.me’s operators promised investors a “guaranteed income” on a sliding scale – the more they invested, they were told, the better-quality machines they would be able to buy.
Anyone stumping up USD 6,225 could expect to make almost USD 120 per day, the pool’s marketing material detailed. Smaller-scale investors could expect to make USD 32 a day from a one-off USD 2,333 investment, the company claimed.
But when these “guaranteed gains” failed to materialized, angry investors attempted to recoup their funds – only for the company to abruptly pull the plug on its website and most of its social media channels.
Ethereum Mining ‘Scam’ Worth ‘Millions’ of Dollars, Say Lawyers
The pool’s marketing efforts were well-funded and aggressive – and included advertisements displayed on South Korean buses, in subway station, and on digital displays in busy public squares.
On June 27, Cryptonews.com reported that the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Financial Crimes Investigation Unit had launched a probe into both Ethlot.me and Ethlot, and was working with local forces throughout South Korea.
The police have already made several arrests – and have even taken the Ethlot CEO into custody. However, lawyers representing a group of victims have claimed that the 44-year-old who fled to the Philippines is the “true” operator of the apparent scam – and police officers appear inclined to agree.
The alleged linchpin was given a travel ban when police began their investigation, but appears to have evaded capture on his escape in June.
Yonhap reported that the Financial Crimes Investigation Unit is considering asking Interpol to intervene.
Lawyers claim the “scam” has claimed some 2,000 victims and amassed “millions” of dollars worth of investment.