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Google files lawsuit against crypto scammers allegedly defrauding thousands

By:
on Apr 4, 2024
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  • Google sues crypto scammers for defrauding over 100,000 globally.
  • The scammers, Yunfeng Sun and Hongnam Cheung, reportedly ran their scheme since at least 2019.
  • Prado emphasized the importance of using resources to protect users and deter future fraudulent activities.

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Tech giant Google has taken legal action against a group of crypto scammers, alleging their involvement in defrauding more than 100,000 people worldwide.

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Filed on Thursday, the lawsuit accuses the scammers of uploading fraudulent investment and cryptocurrency exchange apps to Google Play, Google’s official app store for Android devices.

What’s the lawsuit about?

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The lawsuit, a first-of-its-kind move by a tech company against crypto scammers, aims to set a legal precedent and establish protections for users.

According to Google, the defendants made multiple misrepresentations to the company to upload their fraudulent apps, including false information about their identity, location, and the nature of the applications.

The group of scammers, identified as Yunfeng Sun (also known as Alphonse Sun) and Hongnam Cheung (also known as Zhang Hongnim or Stanford Fischer), allegedly conducted their scheme since at least 2019.

The lawsuit alleges that the scammers employed various methods to lure victims into downloading their apps, including text message campaigns, online promotional videos, and affiliate marketing campaigns.

Once downloaded, the fraudulent apps were designed to appear legitimate, with users led to believe they were earning returns on their investments. However, users were unable to withdraw their investments or profits, leading to substantial losses.

Google claims that despite its efforts to take down the fraudulent apps, the scammers would create new ones and upload them to Google Play using deceptive tactics to obfuscate their identities.

Google counsel said this in an interview

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Halimah DeLaine Prado, General Counsel at Google, stated in an exclusive on-camera interview with CNBC Crypto World that the lawsuit presents a unique opportunity for the company to combat bad actors involved in extensive crypto schemes.

Prado emphasized the importance of using resources to protect users and deter future fraudulent activities.

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, brings civil claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law, as well as breach of contract claims against the defendants.

Google seeks a permanent injunction against the defendants, as well as damages for expenses incurred in investigating the breach and ensuring user safety and integrity.

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