Crypto scammer gets over 11,000 years in prison in Turkey

11,196 years, 10 months and 15 days in prison, that’s the sentence handed down by a Turkish court to Faruk Fatih Özer. The CEO of crypto exchange Thodex is accused of defrauding his platform’s investors of more than $2 billion in April 2021. Faruk Fatih Özer has never ceased to proclaim his innocence. His two accomplices have also been sentenced to the same penalty.

11,000 years in prison for swindling over $2 billion

At less than 30 years of age, Faruk Fatih Özer could spend the rest of his life in prison. The CEO of Turkish crypto exchange Thodex has been sentenced to more than 11,000 years in prison and a fine of nearly $5 million by the 9th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. To be more precise, the prison sentence imposed on the young entrepreneur is 11,196 years, 10 months and 15 days.

For what? Well, for setting up, managing and belonging to an organization, qualified fraud and laundering real estate assets.

But what explains this heavy sentence?

The charges against Faruk Fatih Özer go back two years. After founding the cryptocurrency exchange Thodex in Turkey, Faruk Fatih Özer had succeeded in attract thousands of users with the promise of big profits and luxury cars.

April 21, 2021, Thodex had suspended its activities for no good reason. Since then, users have never seen their funds again. According to the prosecutor, more than $2 billion belonging to almost 400,000 users had been swindled by the Thodex CEO.

Wanted by the Turkish judiciary and Interpol, Faruk Fatih Özer had taken refuge in Albania. However, his escape was short-lived. In August 2021, he was arrested and extradited to Turkey, where he stood trial. Faruk Fatih Özer is not the only defendant to have received heavy sentences. His brother and sister, also involved in the case, received the same verdict as he did.

The court was also lenient with other defendants. Indeed, the court was lenient with other defendants, Turkish justice acquitted 16 of the 21 defendants present at the trial. In addition, 4 of the 7 people imprisoned in connection with the investigations into this case were released lacking evidence.

I’m innocent and Thodex is bankrupt, says Faruk Fatih Özer

Throughout the trial, Faruk Fatih Özer has consistently maintained his innocence, claiming that he has never swindled a single penny. During the trial, the accused presented himself as a man “intelligent enough to run any institution on Earth”.. One example of this is the fact that he directed Thodex at the age of just 22…

For Faruk the collapse of his platform was not the result of fraud. Rather, it was a bankruptcy like for several other crypto companies. The accused thus perceives this trial as an unfair persecution of his family.

If I had to create a criminal organization, I wouldn’t act so amateurishly.

Faruk Fatih Özer

It is certainly encouraging to see that the perpetrators of cryptocurrency-related scams are finally being held accountable. This justice, however, is incomplete for investors who are victims of these crimes, given the difficulty often encountered in recovering their stolen assets. It seems that the legal focus is more on punishing the guilty rather than restoring investors. For example, Faruk Fatih Özer, who stole $2 billion, was only fined… $5 million.