Hong Kong police have arrested 14 people who allegedly defrauded seven victims of $80 million – including an 85-year-old man who lost upwards of $73.9 million.
The group is accused of operating a fake investment firm which allegedly induced victims to hand over huge amounts of cash, ostensibly for investing in gold and other commodities.
Police said 12 men and two women were arrested after a months-long investigation into a scheme known as the “London Gold” scam.
After being cold-called or contacted on social media, the victims were allegedly encouraged to authorize investment in the precious metal on the London commodities market, along with other investment products. The company allegedly later told victims that their investments had failed.
Citizens of Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand were among the victims, the South China Morning Post reported.
The Post reported that the 85-year-old retiree finally raised the alarm after making “many” transactions with the alleged fraudsters since 2016.
Those arrested ranged in age from 20 and 72, police said. In addition to documents, computers, phones and other paraphernalia seized by police, bank accounts containing about $28 million were frozen.
Police said 285 people had been arrested over different “London Gold” scams between 2016 and October 2018.
CNN’s Angie Chan contributed to this report.