Former Thodex CEO Faruk Özer starts 11,196-year prison sentence

Faruk Fatih Özer once took a hardware wallet holding $2 billion worth of crypto through airport security while fleeing arrest. This week, he is entering prison to start a 11,196-year prison sentence.

Özer founded Thodex, Turkey’s once-largest crypto exchange, and used it — with help from his family — to steal untold sums from his customers.

His brother and sister received the same, 11,196-year sentence. That is, the judge noted, more years than 50 humans could physically serve and the longest sentence ever handed down by a Turkish court.

Read more: Thodex chief denies fraud, says crypto exchange was hacked

During his final days of freedom, Özer had grown his beard out to his chest and was taxiing to southern Albania with a tent, intending to camp along the coastline. Law enforcement eventually found him at a social gathering.

By then, he had no hardware wallet containing $2 billion, claiming he’d emptied it, used the funds to pay back victims, and thrown it into the Ionian Sea.

The Istanbul Superior Court didn’t even comment on that extraordinary claim when handing him and his siblings a combined 43,000-year sentence.

It took 62 arrests and coordinated law enforcement across a half dozen countries to finally find Özer. Throughout all of this and even at his final sentencing, Özer denied allegations of fraud and claimed that a third-party hacker stole funds from his exchange.

Faruk Özer is now in prison until his 11,196 year and 10 month sentence expires in the year 13,221.

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