A man wanted by Turkey for his involvement in notorious Çiftlik Bank (Farm Bank) fraud scheme was extradited by Bulgaria yesterday. Düzgün Genç (whose name and last name is roughly translated as Honest Young Man) is accused of being one of co-founders of the scheme that tricked gullible Turks out of their life savings.
Çiftlik Bank, a virtual farming simulator, made TL 1.1 billion ($264.1 million) in less than one year from more than 132,000 people who invested real money for virtual animals. Basically a Ponzi scheme which promised customers doubled earnings in less than a year, it inspired other fraudsters who made the most of virtual farm frenzy before authorities, one by one, started shutting them down, seizing companies and detaining their owners. Çiftlik Bank's boyish developer, 26-year-old Mehmet Aydın who boasted how his company was thriving in videos showing dairies and livestock bought by money invested by unsuspecting clients, remains at large. He is believed to be in South America and was last spotted in Uruguay a few months ago.
An investigation is underway for 33 suspects involved in the scheme and 13 remain in custody while police issued international search warrants for six, including Mehmet Aydın. Authorities also appointed trustees to four companies owned by fraud suspects.