- A Chinese court has sentenced 11 PlusToken scammers to 2-11 years in prison
- The sentences relate to $2.25 million worth of fraud, just a fraction of the overall haul
- Over 100 PlusToken operators and employees were arrested in July
A court in China has sentenced some of the ringleaders of the now notorious PlusToken crypto scam to up to 11 years in prison. The sentencing marks the conclusion of Asia’s biggest ever cryptocurrency scam, which some sources estimate to be worth around $10 billion at today’s prices. The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that the 11 ringleaders were sentenced for $2.25 billion worth of fraud, bringing to an ignominious end the Ponzi scheme that claimed to offer guaranteed returns on investments and arbitrage among other methods of money generation.
PlusToken Founders Fled to Cambodia
The 11 ringleaders were among 27 PlusToken operators arrested in a coordinated swoop in July, an operation that the South China Morning Post goes into in more detail than we have so far seen. By January 2019, founder Chen Bo knew that after nine months of operation the net was closing in, so he and his team fled to Cambodia to continue the operation from there, hiring local staff to pose as the platform’s founders in order to broaden its international appeal.
The Ponzi scheme went bust in May 2019, at which point Chinese police began to hunt down the operators. Court documents allege that Chen cashed out 127 million yuan ($19.3 million) to buy properties and luxury cars for himself and his family before he was arrested along with 26 other PlusToken ringleaders and 82 other staff members across Cambodia, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Malaysia five months ago.
Proceeds to Be Kept by Chinese State
The court in Jiangsu, situated on China’s east coast, sentenced Chen and another 13 ringleaders to 2-11 years in jail, with fines ranging from 120,000 yuan ($18,277) to 6 million yuan ($914,000). All the cryptocurrency so far seized as part of the PlusToken investigation is being kept by the Chinese state who said last month that they will be sold and the “proceeds and gains will be forfeited to the national treasury.”