A fugitive creator of a Ponzi scheme who surrendered this week said that he turned himself in because of having problems with his family.
Mehmet Aydın, the 29-year-old creator of Farm Bank Ponzi scheme game (Çiftlik Bank in Turkish), turned himself in to the Turkish Consulate in Sao Paulo on June 30 and was brought to Turkey on July 3. He was detained at the Istanbul Airport as part of an investigation.
Believed to have defrauded thousands, Aydın was sought with a red notice by Interpol upon Turkey’s request. He is accused of "establishing a criminal organization" and "fraud" and faces up to 75,260 years in prison.
Following medical checks, he was taken to the Istanbul Police Department after procedures at the Istanbul Airport Courthouse.
Following an interrogation period of four days, he will appear before the Istanbul Anatolian Court.
In his initial testimony, Aydın said that he surrendered because he was on the verge of cutting ties with his family and was experiencing difficulties abroad. He also claimed that he will pay his debt to thousands of people, noting that he himself was defrauded.
The prosecutor's office prepared an indictment against 48 suspects, seven of whom are fugitives and 11 are under arrest, as part of the investigation conducted against the founders and managers of Farm Bank.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said that two separate public cases have been filed against suspects to date as part of the investigation and a probe is ongoing regarding the suspects who have not yet been caught or for whom evidence has not been collected.
Several lawsuits were filed against Aydın in courts in Istanbul and Bursa for charges, including "Fraud by Using Information Systems, Banks or Credit Institutions.”
During the trial process, 18 of 48 defendants were acquitted.
Some 20 defendants are being tried, four of whom were fugitives, including Aydın, his brother Fatih Aydın, Cengiz Samur and Osman Naim Kaya.
The trial against the defendants will be heard by the Anatolian 6th High Criminal Court on Sept. 14.
In 2016, Aydın founded Farm Bank that is believed to have defrauded 3,762 people. It was inspired by the FarmVille social media game.
After complaints by thousands of users, a red notice was issued on March 19, 2018, based on an arrest warrant. But he disappeared and had been at large for the last two years.
Turkish Justice Ministry reportedly contacted every country where Aydın was allegedly seen, within the framework of judicial cooperation, including Uruguay, Brazil, Panama, Honduras, Canada and Ukraine.
Upon information that Aydın was reportedly seen in Brazil, his extradition was requested from the country in June 2018. The request was reportedly repeated in February.