$500K In Crypto Vanished After Man Allegedly Disappears

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$500K In Crypto Vanished After Man Allegedly Disappears
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According to local reports, an Australia-located businessman has allegedly vanished after receiving an accidental deposit from a crypto trading platform at the end of January. The Victorian Supreme Court issued a freezing order on the assets as efforts to contact the man have proven unsuccessful.

Typing Error Costs Hundreds Of Thousands To Crypto Exchange

A recent report from ABC News Australia informed of the disappearance of a Mildura resident who allegedly pocketed over half a million dollars involved in a costly typing error.

Per the report, 37-year-old Kow Seng Chai, a Malaysian-born resident of Mildura, deposited AU$99,500 to the crypto trading platform Rhino Trading Pty Ltd, which operates under the OTCPro name.

The deposit, worth around $62,000, was made on January 25 through an account set up by Chai for his Sydney-based business Lotte Enterprise Pty Ltd.

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As the exchange credited the balance to Chai’s account, it accidentally added an extra zero, crediting AU$ 995,000 (approximately $621,000) instead of the correct AU$ 99,500.

The court documents, as the report states, show that the Lotte Enterprise account had a balance of around AU$ 1.36 million ($890,000) after the mistake. The balance consisted of AU$ 464.200 that Chai previously deposited and the $895,500 mistakenly received, worth about $586,000.

By the time the crypto exchange picked up on its error on February 4, Chai had already converted the funds to USDT and withdrew about AU$ 956,000, as bank records showed.

OTCPro claimed to have suffered around AU$ 492,000 ($322,000) in losses once it had subtracted the remaining recovered account balance from the mistakenly accredited sum.

When The Exchange Needed Him Most, He Vanished

After realizing the mistake, OTCPro tried to contact Chai through the phone number and email address provided when setting up the company’s account. The Mildura resident did respond to the exchange’s email request to return the funds.

However, the exchange received an unexpected response when contacting the phone number linked to Chai’s account. The person who answered the phone call denied being Kow Seng Chai and confirmed that the number did not belong to the fugitive.

Consequentially, the crypto exchange presented a freezing order petition to the Victorian Supreme Court to freeze Chai’s assets issued on February 9. On February 21 the court also issued an injunction preventing the Malaysian-born man, who did not appear in court, from leaving Australia.

The evidence presented to the court revealed some troubled findings about Chai’s companies. The disappeared businessman, who seems also to be the director of a Mildura-based company, had previously provided fraudulent bank statements as evidence of Lotte Enterprises’ business activity.

The Sydney-based company seemingly has a standard trading pattern, according to OTCPro’s director Qi Tang. The company would deposit funds in Australian dollars to the account almost daily; then, it would purchase Tether and withdraw the funds to a private wallet. The account had deposited almost AU$2 million since December 2023.

According to the report, a search made by the crypto exchange revealed that the private wallet only had around AU$149.33 in assets on February 4. As a result, Judge Michael Osborne considered that the findings presented to the court alongside the disappearance of Chai presented a “real risk of assets being disposed of,” which was considered when making the orders.

At writing time, Chai seemingly remains at large as no further details about his or the missing fund’s whereabouts have been revealed.

Bitcoin is trading at $57,053.8 in the 1-day chart. Source: BTCUSDT on TradingView.com

Featured Image from Unsplash.com, Chart from TradingView.com



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