Turkish law enforcement authorities detained 127 people on suspicion of involvement in the fraudulent crypto scheme Smart Trade Coin STC. The project has attracted more than $31 million from investors in recent years.

The creators of Smart Trade Coin promised investors high profits and a complete absence of risks, say the prosecutor’s office. To convince investors that their investments were safe, the attackers told potential clients about the “guaranteed stop loss function” and advanced trading bots that perform automatic transactions. Victims said that scammers persuaded people to take out loans and buy crypto-assets, making unfulfilled promises of large monthly profits.

In 2023, the analytics company AI Multiple Research flagged Smart Trade Coin as a fraudulent project due to a lack of business transparency. Since 2021, the Turkish police began to receive numerous complaints about Smart Trade Coin from investors who suffered financial failure.

During the investigation, it turned out that the platform was a cryptocurrency pyramid. Investors were encouraged to attract new participants, from whose investments profits were paid to early investors. Police conducted searches in 21 locations in Ankara, detaining 127 people. All of them are suspected of international fraud and money laundering. Law enforcement officers confiscated assets worth 1 billion Turkish lira (about $31 million), movable and immovable property, unlicensed firearms and cryptocurrency.

Late last year, the Turkish government promised to develop new rules to regulate cryptocurrencies so that the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) would remove the country from its “grey list.”