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Crypto CEO sentenced to 11,196 years in prison after stealing $2 billion of customer funds

Crypto CEO sentenced to 11,196 years in prison after stealing $2 billion of customer funds

Faruk Fatih Özer fled his country after Thodex suddenly went offline.

A CEO of a former Turkish cryptocurrency company has been sentenced to more than 11,000 years in prison.

One year of your life behind bars might seem like an eternity, however Faruk Fatih Özer has received one of the longest prison sentences in human history.

Özer was in charge of Thodex, which was one of the country's biggest cryptocurrency exchanges.

EuroNews says cryptocurrencies are very popular in Turkey because the digital money is 'widely used to protect savings from the sky-high inflation and the steep devaluation of the lira'.

Hakan Akgun/ dia images via Getty Images

When Thodex collapsed in 2021, Özer fled Turkey after stealing $2 billion from customers, according to Dexerto.

Nearly 400,000 customers couldn't access their accounts when Thodex suddenly went offline and authorities began the massive mission to find Özer.

Interpol even issued a red notice for him.

Özer hit back at claims he had defrauded billions from his loyal base and said they had temporarily closed Thodex so they could investigate a cyber attack.

He also denied reports that he had fled Turkey and insisted he was only out of the country so he could hold business meetings and would be back in a few days to answer to police questions.

It wasn't until 2022 that he was found in Albania and was extradited back to his home country to answer to allegations of fraud, leading a criminal organisation and money laundering.

Ozan Guzelce/ dia images via Getty Images

According to state media, Özer's defence was that he wouldn't have acted so 'amatuerish' if he was trying to be a criminal.

"I am smart enough to lead any institution on Earth," the Anadolu agency quoted him as saying.

"That is evident in this company I established at the age of 22."

However, it seems as though the courts didn't agree.

Prosecutors said there were a little more than 2,027 victims in the case and Özer had to pay for his crimes.

He was sentenced 11,196 years, 10 months, and 15 years in prison as well as pay a financial penalty of 135 million Turkish Liras (US$5 million).

Özer's sister Serap and brother Guven were also convicted and sentenced to the same charges.

While more than 11,000 years in prison might seem like the longest sentence imaginable, that record actually goes to a woman in Thailand.

Chamoy Thipyaso was given a 141,078 year sentence after she defrauded more than 16,000 people in a pyramid scheme worth $204 million at the time.

Featured Image Credit: Hakan Akgun/ dia images via Getty Images.

Topics: Cryptocurrency