Ponzi Scheme Suspect Deported to China After $36m Bust

A Chinese national suspected of involvement in a multimillion-dollar investment fraud scheme has been arrested and sent home after a Red Notice was issued by Interpol at the request of Beijing.

The unnamed suspect, 46, was caught after trying to use a fake passport to obtain a visa while in the southeast Asian nation. Further inquiries identified him as the subject of the notice, which was issued last year, according to Interpol.

The fake investment scheme reportedly used social media to lure victims into putting money into the ‘opportunity’ and recruiting others to do the same.

However, their money was actually used to pay off other investors and enrich the scheme’s operators. As per a classic Ponzi scheme, no legitimate investments were made on behalf of these victims.

The suspect and his co-conspirators reportedly defrauded nearly 24,000 victims out of €34m ($36m).

The Interpol Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC) and its Fugitive Investigative Support Unit and Command and Coordination Centre helped to coordinate the Chinese national’s arrest at Jacksons International Airport in Papua New Guinea. 

He was subsequently flown back to China via Singapore.

Interpol’s executive director for police services, Stephen Kavanagh, welcomed the arrest.

“This case clearly demonstrates the importance of police collaboration across global boundaries and makes it clear for fugitives that the world is effectively shrinking through Interpol’s network,  leaving nowhere to hide,” he added.

“Cases like this highlight the significance of speedy use of data sets for member country interests and how Interpol capabilities serve to bring criminals to justice.”

Investment fraud was ranked eighth on the list of most common cybercrime types last year, accruing 20,561 reports to the FBI. However, it came second only to business email compromise (BEC) in terms of total victim losses, racking up almost $1.5bn over the year.

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