On 1 July 2020, Fok Fook Seng was convicted and sentenced to a fine of $100,000 for promoting a prohibited multi-level marketing scheme involving OneCoin, a purported cryptocurrency.
Participants took part in the scheme by purchasing packages which contained online educational courses bundled with promotional tokens. They were told that these promotional tokens could be used to ‘mine’ OneCoin. Participants of the scheme could receive commissions by directly referring people who purchased these packages, and if the participants that they brought in referred other people in turn.
Between January 2016 and June 2017, Fok Fook Seng actively promoted the scheme by organising multiple seminars which he advertised on a public Facebook page, ‘OneLife One World Team Singapore’. In addition, he took part in other large-scale events to promote the scheme in Singapore. As at June 2017, there were 1,180 members in Singapore and other countries under his main account due to his own referral efforts and that of his team members.
Fok Fook Seng was convicted on one count of promoting a prohibited multi-level marketing scheme. The charge is punishable by a fine of up to $200,000 and/or an imprisonment term of up to 5 years under the Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling (Prohibition) Act.
Another man has also been charged with the same offence of promoting the same scheme involving OneCoin. He faces an additional charge for incorporating a company to promote the multi-level marketing scheme, which carries the same maximum punishment. Court proceedings are ongoing.
Members of the public are reminded that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender. They are not used by any government and are not backed by any assets or issuer. As in most jurisdictions, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) does not regulate cryptocurrencies. As such, there is no regulatory safeguards for investment in them.
Members of the public are also advised not to deal with unregulated entities or persons when they come across such investment opportunities. If you choose to deal with unregulated entities or persons, you will forgo the protection available under MAS’ regulations.
Before committing to an investment, always Ask, Check and Confirm.
- ASK as many questions as you need to fully understand the investment opportunity. If the company is unable to, or avoids answering any of your questions, be wary!
- CHECK on the company, its owners, directors and management members to assess if the opportunity is genuine
- CONFIRM the company’s and representatives’ credentials by using available resources, including the Financial Institutions Directory, Register of Representatives and Investor Alert List on the MAS website (www.mas.gov.sg).
Source: Singapore Police Force