Google claims its crypto scam lawsuit is ‘first of its kind’

Google has filed a lawsuit accusing two China-based app developers of using its Play Store to host 87 investment and crypto scam trading apps that have allegedly defrauded more than 100,000 people.

The internet giant claims the two developers, Yunfeng Sun and Hongnam Cheung, stole anywhere between $100 and tens of thousands of dollars from individual victims. As a result, Google claims that investigating the pair cost it $75,000. 

It also reportedly claims the lawsuit is the first of its kind against alleged crypto scammers, with its general counsel saying, “This litigation is a critical step in holding these bad actors accountable and sending a clear message that we will aggressively pursue those who seek to take advantage of our users.” 

The developers had apparently been using the Play Store since 2019 to host crypto and investment apps that faked users’ returns while stealing deposited funds. They are also accused of attempting to extort victims with overpriced withdrawal fees. 

Read more: Fake crypto wallet in App Store for four years drained $120K in Stacks

In doing so, Google claims the two persistently uploaded new apps whenever one was suspended by hiding their identities and making ‘material misrepresentations’ to circumvent its policies. They are also accused of using YouTube, text message campaigns, and paid adverts to promote the fraudulent apps

Google has demanded a trial by jury in today’s lawsuit. It accused the defendants of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and breaching contract terms of various Google services, such as YouTube and its developer program. 

Google was almost taken to court when an Irish politician threatened legal action over a series of crypto scams that fraudulently misrepresented him. Google was ordered to hand over identifying information of the scammers and the two settled out of court.

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