|BTS at a press conference at Lotte Hotel Seoul in Jung-gu, May 29, after winning at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. / Korea Times file|
By Ko Dong-hwan
A cash-strapped businessman has been indicted for swindling over 600 million won ($527,000) allegedly using a fake fan meeting scam involving globally renowned K-pop boy band BTS.
The man, identified by the surname Choi, 37, was accused of swindling another firm in January with an offer to provide an opportunity to host the band's fan meeting, according to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office on Thursday.
The victim paid the accused 624 million won from January to March. The money nominally covered contract money for the fake fan meeting and funds for the band's promotional merchandise that could be sold in China.
In January, Choi, who operates a fashion goods manufacturing firm, signed with Big Hit Entertainment, the band's agency, for a business collaboration making travel carriers and backpacks that had photos and nicknames of the band's members on them.
The deal entitled him to invite the band, with the agency's agreement, to a one-time promotional event for his products. It had nothing to do with giving him any right to host fan meetings or other events with the band, prosecutors said.
Having a 2 billion won debt before the deal, Choi couldn't keep up with the 330 million won monthly royalty payment to the agency to maintain the deal.
Prosecutors said the cash-strapped situation drove Choi to commit the crime.