Court Sentences Man To 6 Years In Prison For Pretending To Sell BTS’s Exclusive Portrait Rights

A 38-year-old man has received a prison sentence for a financial scam in which he tricked people into believing that he had the right to organize fan meetings and concerts for BTS.

On April 11, the Seoul High Court (head judge Cha Moon Ho) sentenced Mr. Choi to the same sentence that he received in his first trial: six years in prison. He was charged with violating the Additional Punishment Law on Specific Economic Crimes (fraud). The High Court was reviewing this case because Mr. Choi had requested an appeal on the verdict handed down to him in October 2018 from a lower court.

The bench said, “When we look at the overall situation and the victim testimonies, it is clear that Mr. Choi deceived the victims. The damage that Mr. Choi incurred upon the victims is severe.”

The bench continued, “Mr. Choi has also damaged the reputation of our nation by victimizing people abroad. Not only has he dishonored BTS’s name, but there are many victims who have not been able to recover from what he has done and hope for severe punishment. We do not see any reason to reduce the sentence in this case.”

In his first trial, the court ruled, “Mr. Choi deceived several Japanese people into believing that he had the right to sell BTS’s exclusive portrait rights and falsely promised to give them the exclusive right to make and sell official BTS products in Japan.”

Mr. Choi is the head of a company that makes products in collaboration with celebrities. In January 2017, he was charged with scamming people into believing that he could organize fan meetings and various events with BTS and defrauding people to the tune of 624 million won (about $550,000).

His scam in Japan concerning BTS’s exclusive portrait rights defrauded people to a total of 1.1 billion won (about $960,000). He has also defrauded people of another 1.3 billion won in similar crimes (about $1.1 million).

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