Sunday, September 24, 2023

Jakarta Police Nab American Bitcoin Scammer for Underage Sex

Bayu Marhaenjati
June 16, 2020 | 5:07 pm
Indonesian police have arrested Russ Albert Medlin, center, the co-founder of the BitClub Network, for alleged sexual assault of minors in Jakarta. (B1 Photo/Bayu Marhaenjati)
Indonesian police have arrested Russ Albert Medlin, center, the co-founder of the BitClub Network, for alleged sexual assault of minors in Jakarta. (B1 Photo/Bayu Marhaenjati)

Jakarta. The police arrested American fugitive Russ Albert Medlin in South Jakarta on Monday for alleged sexual assault on minors, ending the 46-year old's escapade after the US Department of Justice prosecuted him for scamming cryptocurrency investors. 

Medlin is the cofounder of BitClub Network, which is currently being prosecuted by the US Attorney General for allegedly running a $722 million Ponzi scheme fraud.

Interpol issued a red notice for Medlin in December once the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) declared him a fugitive. 

The Jakarta police, however, first became suspicious of Medlin for an entirely different reason. 


"We received tip-offs from the public that underage women were often seen at R.A.M.'s residence," Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Cmr. Yusri Yunus said on Tuesday, referring to Medlin by his initials. 

On Sunday, officers set up surveillance near Medlin's residence and eventually saw three teenagers leaving the house.  

"The officers intercepted and questioned three underage women, around 15 to 17 years old. They admitted the owner of the house had hired them to have sex with him," Yusri said.

Under the 2014 Law on Children Protection, forcing minors to perform sexual acts is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 

Yusri said the police detained Medlin later on Monday.

Medlin has prior convictions for the sexual abuse of a minor in the US. 

He was sentenced to two years in prison twice, in 2006 and 2008, by the District Court of the State of Nevada after being found guilty of sexually abusing a 14-year-old child and storing videos and images of the act, Yusri said. 

Yusri said the police are still looking for a person, identified only as A., who found the minors for Medlin.

"Medlin usually pays Rp 2 million ($142) for the girls. Every time he asked to be photographed and videotaped," Yusri said. 

It is not clear how long Medlin has been in Indonesia, Chief Cmr. Roma Hutajulu, Jakarta Police's director of special crime investigation, said.

According to him, Medlin is in possession of a tourist visa and the police are still investigating how he managed to get past immigration after being placed on an Interpol red notice.

Indonesia does not have an extradition agreement with the US, but the two countries have been exchanging fugitives in the past. 

"We will continue to process R.A.M. in accordance with the law in Indonesia while waiting for an extradition request from the American Embassy, which has been communicating with us through the FBI's legal attaché," Roma said. 

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