Turkish Crypto Tycoon Bags Over 11k Years Prison Sentence for Massive Fraud

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In an unfolding saga of cryptocurrency deceit, Faruk Fatih Ozer, a Turkish crypto tycoon, along with his two siblings, have been handed prison sentences totaling 11,196 years each. The hefty sentences come following the trio’s defrauding investors for millions of dollars.

In 2021, Ozer, then 29, generated headlines for his abrupt escape to Albania. This occurred just as his Thodex exchange began its rapid downfall, leaving behind a trail of financial uncertainty. To investors’ surprise and dismay, Ozer had absconded, taking with him their assets.

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His evasion was however short-lived. By June, Ozer was back in Turkey, extradited and standing trial for his crimes, which included money-laundering, fraud, and the orchestration of organized crime.

Arising in his self-defence, Ozer challenged the court, claiming his actions were not born of criminal intent, or at least, not amateurishly executed. As state media reported his words, Ozer expressed his confidence in his intellectual acumen, stating his ability to helm any global institution as evident in his success in creating a company at the early age of 22.

The trial, in its brevity, also found Ozer’s sister, Serap, and his brother, Guven, guilty of the aforementioned charges. The sentence for each of the defendants was calculated separately, considering multiple crimes committed against an astonishing 2,027 victims. The cumulative total bore the staggering sentences.

Such lengthy incarcerations are not new to Turkey, who, since abolishing death sentence in 2004, has handed sentences running into thousands of years.

In 2022, infamous TV cult preacher Adnan Oktar was sentenced to 8,658 years imprisonment on charges of fraud and sex crimes; a fate shared by ten of his disciples.

Prosecutors had originally proposed a prison term of 40,562 years for Ozer. The gradual devaluation of the lira, a crisis two-years-old, had compelled Turkish citizens to take solace in cryptocurrencies.

Ozer’s Thodex, established in 2017, had rapidly evolved into one of Turkey’s prime exchanges for digital currencies. The tech-savvy entrepreneur had managed to make a name for himself, securing a spot in the country’s financial elite.

But the mirage of success soon crumbled in April 2021. Thodex imploded, investor assets vanished, and Ozer was nowhere to be found.

As the international warrant from Interpol made its rounds, the criminal fugitive was eventually caught in Albania that same year, following an extensive legal pursuit.

While some speculated he absconded with $2bn worth of assets, the prosecutors’ allegations estimate the Thodex investors’ total losses to be around 356 million liras. The sum, worth approximately $43m during the exchange’s downfall, is currently valued at a mere $13m due to the relentless inflation and the lira’s depreciating value in the global market.