South Korean police have charged a man in his twenties with embezzlement and fraud – claiming that, during his military service, he fueled his crypto trading habits by selling bogus concert tickets online.
The man, aged 22 but unnamed for legal reasons, was arrested at the Heungdeok Police Station in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.
Joongang Ilbo and News1 reported that the man, police said, committed a “series of crimes” while he was serving in the military. All South Korean males must complete military service – usually for a period of 18 months. The police did not specify, but it appears that the man had been discharged from the armed forces prior to his arrest.
Officers claimed that the accused used his mobile phone to trade crypto and use gambling apps online while he was still serving in the army. And they claimed that in order to fuel his crypto spending spree, he duped 191 people into buying fake tickets from him on an online sales platform.
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Police stated that the man managed to raise over $34,500 from his victims – and became increasingly desperate as his crypto trading funds ran low. They believe that he began selling the fake tickets in February this year – before officers arrested him earlier this month.
They added that the man “repeatedly committed crimes” – even during the police investigation.
Officers added that the man claimed to be selling hard-to-obtain tickets for a number of “famous singers’ performances.”
A police spokesperson was quoted as saying that the man “took advantage of the fact that buyers” – in their desperation to find tickets – often “neglect to check” whether the tickets they are purchasing are legitimate.
In September, the government stated that it had traced $1 billion worth of fraudulent crypto transactions in 2022. And, also in September, a court in Seoul handed out a five-year jail sentence to a crypto fraudster who swindled victims out of about $1.7 million worth of crypto and fiat.