A major money-laundering scam had some content creators making millions of dollars on Twitch by abusing the streaming platform’s monetization systems. 40 people involved in the scam have now been arrested.
In November 2021, Twitch confirmed that the company was taking action against 150 streamers who had stolen over $10 million in laundered funds. The streamers, most of whom were based out of Turkey, were using fraudulent credit card transactions on Twitch.
After Twitch had a massive data breach revealing the income of every streamer on the platform, Middle East Eye reported that streamers with around 50 viewers or less were somehow making thousands of dollars in the form of Bits. According to the report, the streamers would steal credit cards and then donate money to other streamers using Bits. These streamers would then refund about 80% of the money back into the hackers’ bank accounts.
Twitch was quick to assure the public that it would be taking action in the future. That action seems to have been taken now.
Following the confirmation that Twitch was dealing with a money laundering scheme, 40 streamers have been arrested for their involvement in money laundering. This was confirmed by the Demiroren News Agency on January 4. It was stated that the arrests were the results of a probe by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul, Turkey.
“Four other suspects remain at large after operations in 11 provinces,” the report stated. “The operation was a culmination of allegations over long-running fraud on the international platform’s Turkish edition.”
Some of the suspects were minors, the DHA reported. Others included popular names in the esports space, such as Mehmet “cNed” Ipek, a top Valorant player who claimed he wasn’t aware of the scam but admitted to not reporting the bits to Twitch.
The potential punishments sought for the crimes committed has not yet been made public knowledge.