Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
A Turkish couple is on trial for defrauding people eager to cash in on the cryptocurrency boom that helped them pocket 8,300 Bitcoins worth GBP 238 million by the time they were caught.
Defendant Safiye Gokce Yuce, 42, moved to the Turkish province of Aydin five years ago when her husband Oguzhan Yuce, 47, started work as an electrical engineer at a geothermal power plant.
She went to the Aydin State Hospital for a check-up in her new hometown and became acquainted with her first victim, a doctor, after introducing herself as an ‘economist and broker’.
She advised the doctor to invest in cryptocurrency and he agreed to give her money so she could buy Bitcoins on his behalf.
After a while, she paid the doctor a healthy dividend and told him that she could provide a similar service for any contacts he knows.
She soon created a network similar to a pyramid scheme of people from different professions, including nurses and police officers all investing in Bitcoin, according to local media.
She invested their money in Bitcoin and paid dividends to the group for two years before suddenly disappearing on 23rd August 2019.
The defendant stopped taking calls and 27 of the now known to be at least 40 victims filed a complaint with the Aydin Public Prosecutor’s Office after suspecting they had been scammed.
Investigators found that she had 8,300 Bitcoins (worth at the time GBP 238 million) in her crypto wallets that were consistently increasing in value.
The suspect, who has been nicknamed ‘Bitcoin Safiye’, was found and arrested in Bursa at around 3am on 8th November 2019.
She was released with an ankle monitor on 10th March 2020 after being in prison for four months. One year later, the ankle monitor was removed.
After a lengthy investigation, an indictment has now been prepared by the Aydin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, demanding 135 years in prison for Safiye and her husband for fraud.
The husband is quoted as saying: “I didn’t know my wife was taking money from people to buy Bitcoin. I don’t know who she was doing this job with. I had no idea about the money she took. I did not receive money from anyone on behalf of my wife, as alleged. I do not accept the accusations against me.”
Safiye Gokce Yuce said in her statement: “Our job was to perform transactions depending on the rise and fall of the Bitcoin rate. I also suffered from this business. We didn’t persuade anyone to part with their money. We have not made any commitments to anyone. We do not accept the accusations.”
The case continues.