Scammers sold fake tokens Turcoin calling them national cryptocurrency and deceiving thousands of investors into investing an estimated 100 million Turkish liras ($21,1 million).

The number of victims of the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme Turcoin, who called themselves a digital alternative to the national Turkish currency, allegedly amount to approximately 10,000 persons. The damage is estimated at $21 million.

Crypto project Turcoin was launched by the Istanbul-based Hipper company, founded by Mohamed Satiroglu and Sadun Kaya in 2017. The organizers positioned Turcoin as a national cryptocurrency. Many celebrities and Turkish show business stars participated in its advertising campaign. In October 2017, the first buyers of Turcoin were stimulated by the company with luxury sports cars.

In fact, the project turned out to be a usual Ponzi scheme, using a referral system. The project participants received bonuses for attracting new participants. Payments to older participants were made by raising funds from new owners of the token. At the beginning of June 2018, the company stopped paying bonuses.

Satiroglu, who owns 49% of Hipper, said that he was only an intermediary.

“I was only a mediator. Our company Hipper does not even have a single dollar in the bank. All the money went to Sadun Kaya’s company in Cyprus,” Satıroğlu told daily Hürriyet.

Sadun Kaya, who owns 51% of Hipper, stopped answer calls and does not respond to requests.

A collective lawsuit has been filed against him, and his former partner Satiroglu joined the lawsuit. According to the victims, Sadun fled Turkey with 100 million Turkish liras ($21.1 million), received from about 10,000 investors.

Satiroglu promised to partially compensate losses, if the Turkish authorities unblock his bank accounts. He also hinted that the activity of the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme was possible due to corruption in Turkish state bodies.