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Police look into major virtual money scam
The Saigon Times Daily
Friday,  Apr 13, 2018,15:03 (GMT+7)

Police look into major virtual money scam

The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC – The HCMC government has asked police to investigate a virtual money scam which is alleged to have swindle thousands of people out of more than VND15 trillion (US$658 million), according to local media reports.

Modern Tech JSC located at an office building on Nguyen Hue Boulevard in District 1 claimed to be an authorized Vietnamese representative to conduct initial coin offerings for two virtual currencies – iFan and Pincoin – which are said to originate in Singapore and India respectively.

Victims were told that the tokens they received would see their value skyrocket once they officially became cryptocurrencies.

iFan was introduced as a means of payment for services between celebrities and their fans. The value of the so-called currency rose strongly day after day, as the company invited more local pop stars to join the network.

Masterminding the scam were seven Vietnamese persons who organized various conferences in Hanoi, HCMC and even remote areas to lure investors.

Investors were told that they would enjoy a monthly return of at least 48% from their initial investment, and recoup all their investment within a period of four months. They would also be rewarded with an 8% commission for every new member they introduced to the network.

An estimated 32,000 investors had been conned into investing in the two virtual currencies which are in fact a multilevel marketing pyramid scheme in which money obtained from new investors would be used to repay old investors.

The victims grew suspicious when the company began to stop paying commissions in tokens instead of real money. They saw the value of their investment snowballing day after day in the system but could never withdraw it in cash.

Some said on social media that they had lost a fortune while others collected signatures of other victims to file an official complaint to take their money back.

A group of victims rushed to the Modern Tech headquarters on Sunday carrying signs accusing the firm of fraud and requesting refunds. They said the company had cheated them.

However, the management of the office building said Modern Tech just leased the ninth floor to register its business in October 2017 and it did not operate there.

Therefore, the city’s vice chairman Le Thanh Liem called on the municipal Police Department and relevant agencies to look into the case. These agencies will have to report to the municipal government soon so as to work out coping measures.

The central bank has banned the use of cryptocurrencies and virtual money for payment, with fines ranging from VND150 million (US$6,580) to VND200 million (US$8,773).

PM orders stronger control of cryptocurrencies, virtual money

By Chi Thinh

The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC – The Prime Minister has told relevant authorities to strengthen control of cryptocurrencies and virtual money. 

The Prime Minister’s Directive 10/CT-TTg which has been posted on the Government Office’s website orders inspections and prevention of activities involving cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and virtual money.

The central bank must coordinate with the Ministry of Public Security to deal with the use of cryptocurrencies and virtual money which are not recognized as legal tender in Vietnam.

The Ministry of Finance instructs public companies, securities firms, fund managers and securities investment funds not to carry out transactions based on cryptocurrencies or virtual money. 

The Ministry of Public Security will have to team up with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and other agencies to thwart illegal capital raising and trading on the Internet and fraudulent investments using cryptocurrencies and virtual money.

The central bank has issued a warning against risks of Bitcoin and virtual money and criminal activities.

In a recent cryptocurrency fraud case in HCMC which made headlines in local media, a firm swindled thousands of people out of VND15 trillion. Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has told the ministries of industry-trade, planning-investment, finance, justice and public security, and the central bank to handle the case.


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