Indonesia arrests US fraud fugitive on local sex charges

JAKARTA (AFP) – An American fugitive wanted at home in connection with a USD700 million cryptocurrency scam has been arrested in Jakarta on sex charges, Indonesian authorities said yesterday.

Russ Medlin, who entered the Southeast Asian nation on a tourist visa last year, was nabbed in the capital on Monday after three teenage girls alleged he paid to have sex with them, police said.

If convicted under Indonesia’s child protection laws, Medlin could face up to 15 years in prison, police said, adding that they confiscated more than USD20,000 in cash from the suspect.

“After the arrest, we checked his identity,” Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus told reporters yesterday, adding Medlin was sought by foreign law enforcement agencies.

According to the Nevada State sex offender public website, a Russ Albert Medlin was listed as a “non-compliant” tier-two offender – the second most serious – with a Las Vegas address.

In December, the United States (US) Justice Department said three men had been arrested in an alleged fraud that raised USD722 million from investors lured by fake bitcoin mining earnings.

Prosecutors in the US allege Medlin headed the “BitClub Network,” which took money from investors in a “high-tech Ponzi scheme”.

From April 2014 through December 2019 the group attracted unsuspecting investors using fraudulent earnings purported to come from the network’s mining pool, according to prosecutors.

It was not immediately clear if US authorities would seek Medlin’s extradition in the cryptocurrrency case.

“We are still waiting for a request from the US Embassy,” Jakarta police’s special investigation director Roma Hutajulu said yesterday.

The US embassy did not immediately reply to requests for comment.