Reward posters in Ukraine for fugitive Farmville fraudster

Victims of a Ponzi scheme run in Turkey through a knock-off version of the popular FarmVille browser game have offered a $350,000 reward for the fugitive architect of the scheme, Mehmet Aydın.

Posters offering the reward have been put up around Kiev, where Aydın is believed to have moved to after spending years in Uruguay, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reported.

The Turkish fugitive is on Interpol’s most-wanted list for stealing some 1.1 billion liras ($193 million) from more than 130,000 people, the Turkish daily said.

The newspaper said he had secured safe passage in his girlfriend’s home country after bribing Ukrainian officials.

In 2016, Aydın released Çiftlik Bank (Farm Bank), an app that mimicked FarmVille’s gameplay allowing users to build a virtual farm.

The key difference and main selling point of the Turkish app was that it created a system for users to invest their money, which it said would be used to build a real-life farm that would sell its produce from special stores.

Aydın’s company promised investors returns of up to 40 percent, a rate that stretched reason, but the app proved to be a huge hit before the authorities brought the scheme down in March 2018.