$26m crypto fraudsters busted buying cars for strangers

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Blockchain
$26m crypto fraudsters busted buying cars for strangers

Four individuals have been sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison for their involvement in a multi-million pound cryptocurrency fraud.

The group — led by ringleader James Parker — exploited a vulnerability in an unnamed Australian cryptocurrency exchange to siphon off £22 million (equivalent to nearly $26 million as of press time) through Parker’s trading account between October 2017 and January 2018.

While Parker died back in 2021 before he could be brought to justice, his co-conspirators are being prosecuted.

Parker’s financial advisor Stephen Boys purportedly helped launder the stolen funds. The man collaborated with a UK national living in Dubai to exchange the cryptocurrency into fiat money and launder it through foreign-based online accounts.

Massive scams fall apart

The group’s fraud was so successful that they had more money than they knew what to do with. They reportedly gave away out gift cards worth £5,000 to strangers in the street and acquired cars for people they met in pubs.

During the trial, Boys testified that he spent £1 million in cash by carrying it in a suitcase to buy a villa from Russian nationals. He also paid £60,000 to corrupt officials in order to be able to continue laundering the hack proceeds.

The group finally attracted the attention of law enforcement, leading to their arrest and conviction for fraud and transferring criminal property. During the investigation, police recovered 445 bitcoin (BTC) — worth $9.5 million as of press time — along with luxury watches, houses, cars and designer goods.

Boys was found guilty of converting and transferring criminal property and sentenced to six years in jail. On the other hand, Kelly Caton was found guilty of fraud, converting and acquiring criminal property, and sentenced to four-and-a-half years.

Jordan Robinson, 24, was found guilty of fraud, converting and acquiring criminal property and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years. James Austin-Beddoes, 28, was found guilty of fraud and acquiring criminal property, and was sentenced to 18 months, suspended for a year.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said that “a very significant amount of the laundered assets have been returned or are in the process of being recovered on behalf of the Australian cryptocurrency exchange.”

The report follows a recent report that DeFi digital asset lending firm LendHub has lost $6 million in digital assets on its network following another hack. On Jan.15, it was also reported that NFT GOD, an NFT blogger, lost his “entire digital livelihood” after clicking a phishing advertisement link on Google.

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Adrian Zmudzinski

Adrian Zmudzinski is a cryptocurrency journalist with over 3,000 articles under his belt. He is passionate about cryptocurrencies, digital rights, information technology and futurology — the things that he likes to cover the most. Adrian previously reported for Cointelegraph and Benzinga.