Three people in Vietnam have been detained for appropriating tens of billions of dong (VND10 billion = US$440,256) through bitcoin-related multilevel marketing scams.
The Department of Police in Bac Giang Province have arrested Than Thi Toan, 50, from the province, and Nguyen Tuan Giang, 63, and Nguyen Thi Thi, 54, both from Hanoi, for fraud and appropriation of property.
The three suspects pocketed tens of billions of dong after mobilizing capital from residents of Bac Giang and other localities for a bitcoin investment fund.
According to the case file, the scammers colluded with other suspects to establish a website advertising high profits to those who invested in the cryptocurrency through the fund.
After clients agreed to invest, Toan, Giang, and Thi promised 10 to 15 percent commission rates for referrals to the bogus fund.
Do Thi N., one of the clients, put VND400 million ($17,610) into the fund expecting daily interest of 0.5 percent and the option to withdraw from the fund after 180 days. Her money, however, was never returned.
The victim then reported the case to Bac Giang police.
Following the incident, officers warned local residents of the risks of fraud associated with the trade and use of cryptocurrencies.
Several multilevel marketing organizations have taken advantage of the popularity of bitcoin and other virtual currencies to convince unaware victims to buy into funds advertising yearly interest rates of 30 to 80 percent.
A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. It can be traded in amounts as small as one hundred millionth of a coin.