19 Apr 2024
Tuesday 20 February 2024 - 15:41
Story Code : 415630

The story of Kurosh Company and its iPhone Ponzi scheme

The Iran Project : A case of company fraud known as "Kurosh Company" has gone viral on Iranian social networks in recent days. This is not a complicated story. With the help of massive online advertisement campaigns and celebrities, 27-year-old Amirhossein Sharifian exploited Iran's iPhone ban and seduced the public with a $35m Ponzi scheme.
Kurosh Company
Kurosh Company
According to The Iran Project, Iran's mobile phone retail store "Kurosh Company" with the allegation of selling the iPhone at about half its price managed to reportedly attract some 20 trillion rials ($35 million) within months.

By running extensive advertisement campaigns featuring Iranian celebrities to lend credibility to ask people to trust the company, the Kurosh Company could scam people out of tens of millions of dollars.

Kurosh Company's iPhone Ponzi scheme

The Kourosh Company's strategy was nothing short of a Ponzi scheme that promised cheap iPhones in Iran’schaotic market, raising some 20 trillion rials ($35 million)  within months.

The Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that pays existing investors with funds collected from new investors. 

With the promise of  prices starting at 200 million rials (about $400) for a model worth almost twice that much, the company claimed that it can secure the low price by "eliminating intermediaries." 

However, the company had not delivered the phones to customers, leading some people who had pre-purchased mobile phones to file lawsuits against it.

Further, the government sealed the company's offices, and media reported the disappearance of owner Amirhossein Sharifian.

On Friday, Iran's economic security police said that the main suspect in the case of a firm called Kurosh Company had fled the country, but a "main member" of the company was arrested and two more are wanted.

The case of Kurosh Company; why should people not trust celebrities?

From footballers to artists and Instagram influencers, their names can be seen in the list of cheap luxury phone promoters.

The influence of celebrities in gaining customer trust is obvious and one of the common marketing techniques. Certainly, one of the reasons for the success of Kurosh Company is the huge presence of celebrities and Instagram influencers in the advertisements of this company and that's why 
the celebrities who appeared in the ads are under fire on social media networks.

Since the firm sealed earlier this week, most of Iranian celebrities have remained silent, some have apologized, and others have defiantly insisted that it was not their responsibility that people made this choice.

A remarkable question poses itself here, "Should media figures be held accountable for their advertisements?'

Definitely, enjoying millions of audience and followers carries a heavy responsibility from the moral and social point of view, but does it include legal responsibility when it comes to the financial aspect?

In fact, incessant inflation has forced people to engage in a variety of informal or additional economic activities so that they may be able to compensate for some of the capital lost due to inflation.
Reporter : Meysam Khedmati
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