American Sex Offender BitCoin Fugitive Arrested in Indonesia
Indonesian police have caught one of America’s most wanted fugitives in a $1 billion Bitcoin fraud case after arresting the US citizen in an upscale Jakarta suburb on suspicion of pedophilia.
Russ Albert Medlin was arrested on Tuesday in one of south Jakarta’s ritziest streets in Kebayoran Baru after neighbors complained of suspicious activity, including frequent visits by under-aged girls who police said had been procured by the man for sex.
Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus said Medlin was arrested after police questioned the girls, aged between 15 and 17, and raided the premises where they found photos and videos of sex acts, close to $US 25,000 in cash and his passport.
Inspector Yusri said police had since learned that Medlin was the subject of an Interpol Red Notice and had been on the FBI’s “most wanted” list since December, around the time he began frequent visits to the Indonesian capital.
“He is a suspect for Bitcoin investment fraud. He is suspected to have swindled $US 722 million. In the US, he is also a recidivist for pedophilia. He has been convicted twice for that,” he said on Tuesday.
“As of now, we are processing him for abuse and he is facing between five to 15 years in jail.”
Medlin is believed to have been the face and chief executive of a Bitcoin Ponzi scheme known as BitClub Network, which began soliciting money from international investors in purported cryptocurrency mining pools from April 2014 until the arrest of his four alleged partners in December.
According to US court documents, Matthew Brent Goettsche, Jobadiah Sinclair Weeks, Joseph Frank Abel and Silviu Catalin Balaci have been charged with a variety of offenses related to their roles in running or promoting the BitClub Network, while a fifth defendant’s identity had been sealed.
Investigating officers described the business as a “classic con game with a virtual twist” that defrauded investors across the world.
The company purported to be able to make investors rich by earning them cryptocurrency, a form of digital money, which would be invested in so-called “mining” technology using high-powered computers to generate the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
A federal complaint against the company founders, filed in New Jersey late last year, cites messages from June 2014 in which BCN’s leaders talk of their target audience as “the typical dumb MLM (multi-level marketing) investor” and say the business will be built “on the backs of idiots”.
A Daily Beast report on the scam published last December described the BCN leaders as enjoying “jet setting lifestyles promoting the company”, and Medlin as the company’s “de facto leader” who gave interviews as CEO despite two convictions for sexual assault on a child under 14, and possession of child pornography.
It also reported that Nevada’s sex offender registry had listed Medlin as of December as being non-compliant, suggesting the state might not know where he is.
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