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40 Arrested in Alleged Twitch Money Laundering Racket

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Turkish police in 11 different provinces arrested 40 suspects Tuesday for their alleged involvement in a money laundering scheme executed using Twitch.

The Demirören News Agency (via Daily Sabah) reports the suspects are accused of buying the virtual Twitch currency Bits using stolen credit cards. Those Bits were then donated through Twitch to streamers, who would refund the scammers for between 70 and 80% of the original donation and pocket the difference.

Using this system, scammers could turn stolen credit cards into cash — and allegedly did so to the tune of an estimated $9.8 million. Emails reportedly indicate the scam has gone on for at least two years, and were uncovered as part of a fraud investigation by the Chief Prosecutor's Office.

The arrests, which reportedly include several minors, follow a series of reports from November uncovering the scheme in progress. At the time, Twitch said it had banned more than 150 partnered streamers in Turkey for abusing its monetization tools.

It's unclear how many of the participating streamers were aware of their part in the racket. Turkish authorities continue to investigate.