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BTS fan extorted for W738m, lured by promise of working with the band

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : March 27, 2024 - 13:29

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This photo posted on J-Hope's official Instagram account shows all seven members of BTS. (J-Hope's Instagram) This photo posted on J-Hope's official Instagram account shows all seven members of BTS. (J-Hope's Instagram)

A 41-year-old man was recently sentenced to four years in prison for fraud after he extorted around 738 million won ($550,000) from a BTS fan by pretending he could arrange for the victim to work with the K-pop group, officials said Wednesday.

The defendant approached the victim in July 2021 and said that he was in charge of a video production team making content for BTS' agency, Hybe. He promised that he could arrange for the victim to participate as a member of staff in a BTS video shoot on Jeju Island.

The victim ended up making 153 payments to the defendant until January 2022, even taking out substantial loans to do so. The defendant paid back 131 million won to the victim, but the court did not consider this as a mitigating factor when deciding on the man's punishment.

An investigation uncovered that the defendant had been found guilty of fraud charges in the past, namely being sentenced to one year and eight months in jail for fraud by the Suwon District Court in 2019.

"The defendant’s crime is severe in the sense that he extorted a large sum of money from the victim, preying on the victim's affection for a celebrity," the Seoul Central District Court said as it handed down its verdict. The court added that the victim is suffering from financial troubles due to the loan they had taken out. The sentence was based on the Act on the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Crimes.