S’pore Man Invests S$175,000 Of Life Savings In Cryptocurrency, Claims He Was Misled

Man In Wheelchair Spends Life Savings On Cryptocurrency, Allegedly Misled By Company

When it comes to investing, one has to be aware of the financial risk they are taking, especially when it’s in something as volatile as cryptocurrency.

A man in his 60s, who has muscular dystrophy and needs a wheelchair, invested S$175,000 of his life savings in cryptocurrency back in 2020.

He had met someone who claimed to be a founder of a cryptocurrency company and agreed to invest despite not knowing English.

The man had hoped that the investment would help grow his retirement fund. However, three years on, he still has yet to see any returns from the investment.

He now believes that he has been misled and is looking to get his money back in court, but the company denies most of his claims.

Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at 18, does not know English

According to Lianhe Zaobao, Mr Hong (transliterated from Mandarin) has been in a wheelchair since he was 30.

Doctors diagnosed the 66-year-old with muscular dystrophy when he was 18.

He only completed primary school and does not know English, he shared with the Chinese-language paper.

As he did not receive enough education, Mr Hong could only work at a fishery in Malaysia. He made around S$2,000 to S$3,000 a month.

However, he lost his toe to gangrene due to his diabetes. As a result, he decided to retire and live on his savings.

Cryptocurrency company supposedly introduced man to crypto

Claim documents that Mr Hong submitted state that he met a woman selling healthcare products at Bugis MRT station in November 2020.

Through the promoter, he met people who claimed to be the founder and the sales consultant of a cryptocurrency company respectively.

The pair then introduced Mr Hong to a cryptocurrency to invest in.

Allegedly, they told him that this cryptocurrency has uses in real-world industry transactions and that it will be listed in 15 months, which was around March 2022.

When it goes on the exchange, the share price would then supposedly grow from US$1.70 (S$2.30) to between US$3 (S$4.10) and US$4 (S$5.50).

The returns from this investment would hence be from the difference.

Man in wheelchair invests life savings in cryptocurrency to grow retirement fund

In the span of a month, Mr Hong used S$50,000 to purchase 48,394 crypto coins on two separate occasions.

After that, the other party allegedly sent him screenshots via WhatsApp of the cryptocurrency’s appreciation value on at least 31 instances.

Encouraged by this, Mr Hong then invested more crypto coins worth S$75,529.

To date, he has dried up his life savings in exchange for 90,000 crypto coins.

“I even recommended my brother and friends to invest too, but we stopped hearing from the other party after 15 months,” he said. “We only found out it did not get listed after we chased for an explanation.”

Mr Hong has since filed a lawsuit through Invictus Law Corporation.

He is claiming that the company misled him due to his old age, sickness, and lack of cryptocurrency or legal knowledge.

Additionally, he is hoping that the judge will rule the transactions invalid to recover his life savings.

Mr Hong told Lianhe Zaobao that he had hoped to grow his retirement funds and get more money for his medical check-ups through the investment.

Although it has been three years, his wife and daughter have no knowledge of what happened.

“I would also like to remind everyone that cryptocurrency investment is very complex and requires caution should you decide to partake in it,” he warned.

Company rebukes man’s accusations

On the contrary, the company that Mr Hong is accusing of misleading him denies most of his claims.

They clarified that they had over 10 meetings with Mr Hong, during which they explained how the investment worked in both English and Mandarin for over two hours each time.

Mr Hong also apparently told the company that he was familiar with contracts and was a major shareholder at his previous job.

Source: Scott Graham on Unsplash, for illustration purposes only

On top of that, the forms Mr Hong supposedly filled out in December 2020 included signed agreements to non-refund terms and risk acknowledgements.

As such, the company is claiming that Mr Hong voluntarily made the transactions. They are also denying that they sent him screenshots of the appreciation value.

In addition, the company said they started exchanging on Bankcex and Vindax on 19 May 2022 and 24 June 2022 respectively and that it is valid for property transactions.

Company looking to get money & crypto coins back from man

Allegedly, the company compensated Mr Hong S$14,000 in exchange for 20,000 crypto coins on 22 May 2023. They alleged that they have yet to receive the crypto coins from him.

They also said that they transferred 90,000 crypto coins to Mr Hong on 2 Nov 2022. Therefore, the company is now seeking to get the S$14,000 and 90,000 crypto coins back from him.

To that, Mr Hong said, “My friends spent S$24,984 to buy the currency, and the company agreed to buy it back for S$14,000. They transferred the money to me and asked me to transfer it to my friend. My friend has already received the money.”

“I proposed that they then buy back my currency at 60% of the price, but they refused. Instead, they gave me 90,000 more crypto coins as compensation, but I only wanted to get my money back.”

Also Read: MAS Can’t Protect Users As FTX Operates Offshore, Emphasises Risks Of Dealing In Crypto

MAS Can’t Protect Users As FTX Operates Offshore, Emphasises Risks Of Dealing In Crypto

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Featured image adapted from Lianhe Zaobao

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