Man fined $100k for promoting multi-level marketing scheme linked to purported cryptocurrency

SINGAPORE - A man has been convicted of promoting a multi-level marketing scheme involving purported cryptocurrency OneCoin.

Fok Fook Seng, 52 , was fined $100,000 on Wednesday (July 1) for committing the offence between January 2016 and June 2017, said the Singapore Police Force.

He was charged in April last year under the Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling (Prohibition) Act, in a case the police said was a first of its kind.

The cryptocurrency OneCoin has been classified by the United States as fraudulent, and several countries such as New Zealand have issued warnings on it.

Fok, who was a director of locally registered companies including wholesale trading firm A Roboclean (S), used Facebook page OneLife One World Team Singapore to advertise the scheme, and promoted it at large-scale events.

In the scheme, participants purchased packages containing online educational courses which were bundled with "promotional tokens".

They were told that these tokens could be used to "mine" OneCoin.

"Mining" describes the mathematical calculations and other processes required to maintain the cryptocurrency.

Participants could also receive commissions if they referred others to buy these packages and if those participants in turn made successful referrals.

By June 2017, 1,180 people in Singapore and other countries had signed on to the scheme.

Another man, Lim Yoong Fook, was also charged in April last year with the same offence of promoting the multi-level marketing scheme, also with OneCoin.

He is also accused of incorporating a company to promote the scheme.

The court case is still ongoing.

Those convicted of promoting prohibited multi-level marketing schemes can be fined up to $200,000 or jailed for up to five years, or both.

Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender, not used by any government or backed by any assets or issuer, the police said.

Members of the public are reminded not to deal with unregulated entities or persons when they come across such investment opportunities.

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