The British police caught a 17-year old in possession of more than GBP 2 million (roughly Rs. 21.61 crores) worth in Bitcoin (BTC) after the teen was intercepted for what the cybercrime unit of the police claim to be a “sophisticated cyber fraud.” The teenager created a copycat website of a popular gift voucher site named Love2Shop and advertised it on Google, duping users into handing over gift voucher redemption codes worth GBP 6,500 (roughly Rs. 6.69 lakh) which was used to buy Bitcoin, the Lincolnshire County Court claims.
Lincolnshire Police have said they seized BTC 48 and other cryptocurrencies after discovering money laundering links in the case. The police also found over 12,000 credit card numbers and details of 197 PayPal accounts on the perpetrator’s personal computer.
The teenager has been charged with misrepresentation and money laundering and sentenced to a rehabilitation centre for young people. The 17-year-old was arrested back in August 2020 following an investigation into reports of credit card fraud and personal information theft that were piling on since April 2020. “People were duped into clicking on his website thinking they were accessing the official site,” said a prosecutor on the case. The judge on the case even stated that the perpetrator would be doing time had he been an adult.
“Cryptocurrency is often thought, by criminals, to be an anonymous way to move funds around undetected but I’m glad that in this case, we were able to highlight that the police are now able to effectively investigate offences of this nature,” said Detective Constable Luke Casey, a cybercrime investigator with Lincolnshire Police.
This is hardly the first time a crypto-scam has come to the fore. Amid the expansion of crypto-culture on a global scale, scammers have been trying to leverage new ways to dupe crypto-asset holders. Back in April, a report had revealed that the total crypto crime in 2020 amounted to around $10.52 billion (roughly Rs. 79,194 crores) in value.
More recently, analyst firm Chainalysis revealed that at least $815 million (roughly Rs. 6,135 crores) was sent in crypto to scam projects from Eastern European countries between July 2020 and June 2021.