Is Bernard Ong Hock Fong a Scam? Investigating the Torque Trading Controversy
Bernard Ong Hock Fong is a controversial figure in Singapore’s cryptocurrency space. As the founder and CEO of Torque Trading, a crypto platform that collapsed in 2021, Ong has faced accusations of scamming investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
In this in-depth investigation, we’ll analyze the Torque Trading saga, examine allegations against Ong, and uncover the truth.
Who is Bernard Ong?
Before founding Torque Trading, Bernard Ong built an impressive corporate finance resume.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Banking and Financial Support Services from the prestigious National University of Singapore.
Ong then worked in sales management positions at various financial institutions, including:
- ABN AMRO Bank – Oversaw $200 million in assets
- Loyal Trading Systems
- Reliance Systems
Outside of his corporate roles, Ong actively participated in blockchain projects and forged connections in the crypto space. He brought this passion to his position as Vice President at Rotary Trading Singapore.
To many, Ong seemed like an upstanding businessman with the experience to succeed in crypto. But as we’ll explore next, things aren’t always as they appear on the surface when it comes to finance.
The Rise and Fall of Torque Trading
In October 2019, Bernard Ong established Torque Trading. Registered in the British Virgin Islands with operations based out of Vietnam, Torque Trading billed itself as an automated crypto trading platform.
Here’s an overview of Torque Trading’s short, yet chaotic, journey:
- October 2019 – Torque Trading founded, begins onboarding users illegally without licenses
- August 2019 to February 2021 – 2,577 Singapore-based users open 41,416 accounts on Torque Trading platform
- January 2020 to February 2021 – Unapproved transfers of crypto assets begin by rogue employees
- February 2021 – Torque Trading suddenly collapses, Ong blames CFO and disappears
- March 2021 – Torque enters liquidation owing users $205 million
It’s a shocking demise that left users bewildered, angry, and out hundreds of millions in funds.
But what happened exactly? And what was Ong’s role?
Investigating Ong and Torque Trading Scam
To unravel this mystery, we need to analyze the liquidator’s investigation and allegations against Ong.
The Missing Assets
Post-collapse, liquidators discovered several alarming findings:
- Torque only held $18 million worth of crypto assets in its accounts
- Just $8.6 million in assets remained upon liquidation
- No records exist of Torque’s claimed investment activities
This leaves nearly $200 million in customer funds unaccounted for.
Ong’s Dubious Transfers
Further investigation revealed Ong had transferred $25 million in Bitcoin from Torque Trading accounts to 15 personal crypto wallets.
Such unauthorized transfers indicate misappropriation of funds on Ong’s part.
Moreover, liquidators found:
- No corporate governance or financial controls were in place at Torque Trading
- Operations depended on shady rogue employees based out of Vietnam
- No auditing, accounting or record-keeping occurred
Allowing this reckless structure as CEO constitutes negligent mismanagement from Ong.
Based on this evidence, liquidators filed a lawsuit against Ong seeking to recover lost funds.
Analyzing Scam Accusations Against Bernard Ong
Considering the findings uncovered, it’s reasonable for investors to feel scammed by Ong and Torque Trading.
Let’s analyze the case against Ong point-by-point:
Transferred Investor Funds to Personal Wallets
Ong stands accused of siphoning $25 million in Bitcoin out of Torque Trading accounts. Such brazen misappropriation indicates fraudulent intent.
As CEO, Ong enabled Torque Trading to conduct business without licenses, oversight, controls or records. This negligent management directly facilitated loss of investments.
Ong vanished after Torque’s collapse, offering no explanation or apology to investors. This implies awareness of wrongdoing.
Lack of Trading Records
No records show Torque Trading actually investing funds as promised. Instead, money flowed into Ong’s personal accounts. This reveals investments existed merely to perpetuate the fraud.
False Blame Narrative
Initial attempts by Ong to scapegoat the CFO demonstrate further deception.
In totality, strong evidence indicates Ong orchestrated an exit scam that preyed upon innocent investors seeking crypto returns.
Investor Reviews and Complaints Against Bernard Ong
To provide further insight, let’s examine reactions and complaints from actual Torque Trading investors:
Lost Retirement Savings
“I invested my retirement savings with Torque Trading. Now in my 60s with no savings left. Bernard Ong is a fraud who stole our money.“
This complaint is tragically common among Torque investors who counted on returns to fund retirements or meet medical needs.
“Police reports have been filed months ago. This man Bernard Ong is a criminal. Why no arrests yet?“
Understandably, multiple investors want to see criminal charges brought against Ong and Torque Trading perpetrators. But the complexity of cross-border cryptocurrency crimes often means lengthy investigations.
“Thousands of investors lives ruined. No apology or explanation from Mr. Ong about where funds went. Pure evil greed motivated this man.“
Such seething remarks stem from Ong’s disappearances and attempts to evade responsibility post-collapse. Investors deserve answers.
Repeated Ignored Warnings
“Many people warned in Torque Trading groups something seemed off. But Ong’s paid shills shouted us down. Greed makes people blind.“
In retrospect, multiple red flags indicated investors should withdraw funds from Torque Trading. Yet loyalty to Ong kept them onboard.
Severe Financial Hardship
“Our family invested in Torque Trading to afford medical treatment for my father. After collapse we are now bankrupt with no money for hospital bills.“
Heartbreaking cases like this illustrate the predatory nature and tragic human impact of Ong’s actions. Lives have been ruined on multiple levels.
The resounding disgust and sense of betrayal expressed in these complaints cements Ong’s status as perpetrator of a callous financial scam built on deceit.
No legitimate business could prompt such severe outrage from swindled customers.
Is Bernard Ong Facing Consequences?
So does Ong face any repercussions for actions as ringleader of this cryptocurrency scam?
Unfortunately, accountability remains limited so far:
- Ong intends to contest the liquidator lawsuit
- Police investigations reportedly still ongoing two years later
- Ong still retains his position with Rotary Trading Singapore
- No criminal charges have been brought yet
Essentially, Ong denies all allegations against him while facing no meaningful punishments or restrictions thus far.
But liquidators remain determined to recover investor funds. And investors continue submitting complaints to any authorities who will listen.
So consequences may still come in time, especially if further evidence emerges revealing Ong’s central role in perpetrating fraud.
How to Spot Future Torque Trading-Style Scams
While the campaign to bring Ong to justice slowly grinds along, investors must learn from this saga to protect themselves moving forward.
Here are key warning signs of potential cryptocurrency scams to watch out for:
Outsized Guaranteed Returns
Investment opportunities that promise suspiciously high returns with no risk often turn out to be cons. Smart investors avoid “too good to be true” pitches.
Aggressive Social Media Marketing
Scams like Torque Trading rely on glossy marketing funnels to reel in targets. Be wary of promotions making extensive use of Facebook/Youtube ads and influencer endorsements to cover up weaknesses.
Evasiveness to Tough Questions
Ask direct questions about trading strategies, security protocols, leadership and more. Deflections, vagueness or runarounds indicate deception.
Lack of Transparency
Unable to examine audits, financial statements or transaction records? This Shows a lack of legitimacy and ethical operation.
Following common-sense skepticism when assessing crypto investments can help investors avoid entrusting funds to scam artists like Bernard Ong in the future.
The Verdict on Bernard Ong: Cryptocurrency Fraudster
In closing, let’s review the case and render a verdict on the controversy surrounding Bernard Ong:
The facts show Ong…
- Deceived investors with false promises of automated trading
- Mismanaged Torque Trading without oversight
- Transferred $25 million to personal crypto wallets from company funds
- Disappeared after collapse without explanation
- Allowed and enabled loss of $200 million in investor deposits
- Faces allegations of fraud and scamming from liquidators and investors
In totality, the evidence overwhelmingly supports allegations of criminal fraud and financial scamming against Bernard Ong.
As CEO and architect of Torque Trading, Ong misled investors about his qualifications, intentions, and the company’s operations and trading activities.
Rather than enabling automated trading, funds flowed into Ong’s own accounts while customers were left empty-handed.
This reeks of a callous exit scam dependent on exploiting hype around cryptocurrency returns. Ong seemingly executed this scheme in a highly deceptive manner before vanishing when cracks formed.
In the process, innocent investors suffered severe financial losses totaling hundreds of millions in deposits that now cannot be accounted for. Lives have been ruined across the board.
While justice has yet to fully catch up to Bernard Ong, the court of public opinion has already rendered its verdict – guilty of perpetrating a fraudulent scam built on lies. Investors were swindled by false promises into funneling money towards Ong’s own pockets.
Until proven otherwise by new evidence, Ong deserves his sordid reputation as a scammer who recklessly and immorally defrauded cryptocurrency investors out of their hard-earned savings to enrich himself.
The full scale of his potential crimes and punishment has yet to be determined. But Bernard Ong’s central role in masterminding the Torque Trading debacle is apparent despite his denials.
Ultimately, thousands of people had their trusts betrayed and financial futures jeopardized by Ong’s disgraceful actions. These painful impacts cannot be forgotten or dismissed if there is any hope of justice being served.