Prosecutors confirmed Tuesday that the mastermind behind the country's largest-ever fraud case died in 2011, wrapping up their two-year-long investigation.
The Daegu District Prosecutors' Office said Cho Hee-pal died of an acute myocardial infarction in Weihai, China in December 2011, confirming the police's announcement made earlier in 2012. He fled to the neighboring country in 2008 when an investigation was launched.
He is suspected of orchestrating a 5 trillion won ($4.2 billion) fraud scheme, fooling some 70,000 people in a massive pyramid scheme between June 2006 and October 2008.
Prosecutors had re-opened the case in July 2014 to clarify Cho's irregularities.
After analyzing a wide range of evidence including testimonies made by Cho's family members and friends, prosecutors concluded that Cho actually died in 2011.
Prosecutors said they have indicted a total of 71 people for their alleged involvement in the massive scheme.
The actual amount of damages incurred to investors are estimated to be around 840 billion won, according to prosecutors.
The fraud ring is suspected of pocketing some 290 billion won of profits in the process.
|Kim Joo-weon, a senior prosecutors at the Daegu District Prosecutors' Office, announces the death of the country's most notorious conman Cho Hee-pal at the prosecutors' office on June 28. (Yonhap)|