The suspect is said to have collaborated with others to steal from unsuspecting victims through a bogus cryptocurrency scheme
This weekend, Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division apprehended Mana Jumuang for running a cryptocurrency scheme that saw victims lose their funds between 2018 and 2019. The 50-year old is said to have been the mastermind behind the scam operation. He illegally obtained more than 500 million Baht (the equivalent of almost $15 million) before deserting investors.
According to a story in the Bangkok Post, Jumuang had co-conspirators with whom he ran the scheme. He is said to have lured both local and foreign victims by promising them that they would gain huge profits in the range of 400% after an investment period of 200 days.
Jumuang presented himself as a crypto guru to investors to earn their trust promising good returns from the cryptocurrency Onecoin. Unaware that it is but a scam to steal from them, the unsuspecting investors would plough in huge sums of money into the fraudulent scheme.
Classic Ponzi scheme
Speaking about the case, Police Major General Montri Thetkhan, who commands the Crime Suppression Division, said that Jumuang and his accomplice posed as businessmen in addition to claiming they were digital assets trading experts. They deceived investors into thinking they operated stores dealing with food, cosmetics, vehicles, and apparel.
To sell the scheme and draw in more investors, Jumuang paid dividends to the earlier participants. He became unreachable when the amount channelled into the scheme hit 500 million Baht. The investors started filing reports after Jumuang and his ‘partners’ went off the grid, which saw Thailand authorities put out an arrest warrant. He was busted in May 2019, but he fled after being released on bail. It is reported that a total of 14 arrest warrants had been issued for Jumuang before his Saturday apprehension.
The scheme is similar to that involving the ‘Cryptoqueen’
Authorities are investigating the matter to find out if Jumuang’s fraudulent scheme has any connection to an earlier Ponzi scheme around Onecoin. The latter was managed by Bulgarian convicted fraudster Ruja Ignatova who was referred to by the media as ‘Cryptoqueen.’
Ignatova’s scheme defrauded victims from all around the world about $4 billion between 2014 and 2016 before going missing in 2017. Prior to founding the Ponzi scheme that ran under the crypto coin OneCoin, Ignatova swindled funds in another scheme dubbed BigCoin. OneCoin has been described as a fake cryptocurrency as it isn’t traded and cannot be used to settle payments for purchases. It was launched in September 2014 by Ignatova and her brother with help from Sebastian Greenwood.