Last Updated on 2 weeks by Ameer Hamza
The creator of the now-defunct Turkish crypto exchange Thodex, Faruk Fatih Özer, was found guilty of cheating 400,000 users out of nearly $2 billion in bitcoins and received a sentence of 11,196 years, ten months and fifteen days in prison.
According to the local media, Faruk will serve the same prison sentence as his older siblings, Güven and Serap, who were also jailed. The three individuals were additionally subject to 135 million lire ($5 million) in judicial penalties from the Anatolian Ninth High Criminal Court.
Interpol’s red alert against Özer led to his arrest in August 2022. Before this, after the Thodex exchange abruptly suspended operations in 2021, he went to Albania. During this period, the creator offered many justifications for keeping clients in the dark, such as an unclear investment that necessitated a halt in trading or a cyberattack that resulted in the loss of assets.
Subsequently, the 29-year-old was detained in Albania and deported to Turkey in April, where he was charged with fraud and another 21 suspects. During his initial trial in June, he asserted that he was falsely accused and denied the charges.
For failing to provide specific documents to the Turkish Tax Inspection Board, Özer was given a sentence of seven months and fifteen days in jail in July. According to CryptoPotato, the magistrates initially sentenced him to one and a half years in prison. Still, they then lowered the term due to his conduct, social connections, and probable consequences for his future.
Özer Alleges That Thodex Exchange Declared Bankruptcy
In the most recent trial, the prosecution charged Özer with founding and running the Thodex exchange to mislead and defraud users by employing banking and financial institutions and information systems as instruments. Seven of his co-defendants were charged with being collaborators and business managers who laundered criminal proceeds.
Özer argued that his family was treated unfairly during the trial as part of his defense. He stated that the crypto exchange went bankrupt and that he would not have acted so clumsily if he had meant to start a criminal enterprise.
Özer claimed no proof of criminal activity operating within the crypto exchange. He highlighted his skill in leading organizations globally and mentioned his accomplishment of starting a company at 22. In addition, he said he would not run operations in such a clumsy way if he were to create a criminal organization.
During the trial, the 21 defendants would have received a sentence of up to 40,564 years in prison; however, the court acquitted 16 of them and released four others for lack of proof. The remaining defendants received a range of prison terms.
The creator of the Thodex exchange, Faruk Fatih Özer, and his siblings have received sentences totaling 11,196 years in prison for scamming thousands of consumers out of sizable bitcoin holdings. Özer, who had earlier rejected all charges, also received a serious legal punishment.