A couple who stole over some USD 3.76m worth of XRP tokens from a crypto investor in 2017 have been handed seven-year jail sentences after an appeals court in South Korea ruled that the duo should spend the best part of a decade behind bars.
Chosun Ilbo reported that the court, a branch of the Suwon High Court, heard that the couple, who were “romantically involved” had hatched a scheme by pretending to be brokers in order to get their hands on a stash of XRP 20.25m (USD 12m).
The unnamed couple, named by the media for legal reasons as A and B, first decided to prey on their victim (named by the media as C) in January 2016, when C created a digital wallet and purchased XRP through A, who was working as a crypto broker at the time, receiving commissions from his customers.
A then slowly began to introduce B into the picture. B made their money by “managing” crypto investments and wallets for customers, and the duo had begun a “romantic relationship.”
A introduced B to C, telling the latter that B was an exceptional crypto broker who could help safeguard C’s funds. Eventually, C decided to place their trust in B. And in October 2017, C finally handed over the funds or the private keys to their wallet to B in a coffee shop in Gangnam, Seoul, paying a commission fee in the process.
However, the couple then almost immediately proceeded to convert almost USD 1m worth of the tokens to cash, which they subsequently spent on expensive cars and “precious metals,” and failed to return the rest of the funds.
C eventually discovered what had happened and alerted the police, who eventually arrested A and B. The duo was tried in August last year under the terms of the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Economic Crimes (fraud) Act, with the presiding judge handing them both identical seven-year sentences.
The couple had hoped to reduce their sentences or overturn the verdict, but the Suwon High Court justice upheld both, stating:
“The defendants inflicted damages worth [around USD 3.76m] on the victim: The size of the fraud was large; the damages were not repaired, the defendants bought expensive precious metals and automobiles after commiting the crime; and the victim wanted them to be punished for what they had done.”