A 33-year-old Danish man was handed a four year and three month prison sentence for his role in an extortion case on April 8. The 33-year-old reportedly admitted in court that he had received large sums of money acquired from illicit activities by his two co-conspirators on several occasions.
On receiving the funds, the 33-year-old then purchased bitcoins and moved them to a wallet in a foreign cryptocurrency exchange from where he transferred them to his accomplices’ wallets.
According to a press release by the North Jutland Police, investigations that resulted in the arrest of the 33-year-old began after a 44-year-old man filed a complaint with them in late 2017. The man was reportedly extorted for 18 months before he finally decided to report the case to the police. The man told the police that he had fallen victim to an extortion scheme that forced him to make monthly payments to one of the 33-year-old’s accomplices. In addition to the monthly payments, the man was forced to surrender his credentials to the gang. The gang then used the credentials to carry out other financial crimes.
The police started the investigation by looking into the 44-year-old’s finances where they found loans, debit and credit cards taken in his name by the 33-year-old’s accomplices. The cops looked into purchases made using the credit cards. The police reportedly found bitcoin purchases made using the cards in a foreign cryptocurrency exchange firm. Further investigations revealed that the bitcoins were purchased using an account held by the 33-year-old in the crypto exchange.
After making that discovery, the police arrested and placed the 33-year-old in custody. The North Jutland Police then sought help from the National Police Unit for IT investigations, the NC3, in tracking the bitcoin purchased by the 33-year-old. The NC3 helped the cops trace back the bitcoin purchases made by the 33-year-old to the money extorted from the 44-year-old. Tracing the bitcoins also resulted in the arrest of the 33-year-old’s accomplices in North Jutland. In total the three men had managed to launder over three million Danish Kroner, equivalent to $452,895.
The police statement also disclosed that the 33-year-old was also convicted of several counts of hacking, theft and carrying out cryptojacking attacks to mine bitcoin. The 33-year-old’s accomplices, aged 44 and 32, were also sentenced on the same day for violence and extortion. They were sentenced to two years and three months and one year and three months in prison respectively.
While announcing the sentences, Troels Jul Kjᴂrgaard, the Police Commissioner for North Jutland Police, said that the case served as evidence of the Danish Police digital presence. He also said that his police force is competent and always ready to dedicate all available resources to the investigation of cybercrimes.
The 33-year-old’s case shows how law enforcement authorities from all over the world are dedicated to the crackdown on crimes carried out using bitcoin. In the US, a 37-year-old man from Connecticut was, on April 9, sentenced to one year and a day in prison for carrying out a dark web bitcoin phishing scheme. The 37-year-old executed the plan by posting fake links on darknet marketplaces and forums. The links directed his victims to sites that resembled the original market places in all aspects. He would then steal the login credentials entered by the victims and use them to log in into the accounts held by the victims in the real marketplaces. After which, he moved any bitcoins left or deposited in the victim’s marketplace wallets to his bitcoin wallet. After stealing the bitcoins, he exchanged them for funds that were deposited into his bank accounts. He reportedly had managed to steal over 10,000 passwords and usernames by the time of his arrest in October 2016.