CFTC Cannot Locate Man Responsible for Over $140 Million Crypto Ponzi

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is having trouble locating Benjamin Reynolds, who is allegedly responsible for a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme worth over $140 million.

Financial news outlet FinanceFeeds reported on Jan. 6 that the CFTC has filed a motion with the New York Southern District Court. More precisely, the regulator filed for the service of process on Reynolds by publication on The Daily Telegraph and extending for sixty days the time limit by which the service must be effected on him and his firm.

A major Bitcoin ponzi scheme

In mid-June, the CFTC launched action against the company over an alleged $147 million Bitcoin (BTC) Ponzi. The CFTC filed against the Reynolds with the aforementioned court for allegedly defrauding over a thousand investors of at least 22,858 Bitcoin.

In a memorandum accompanying the motion, the regulator reportedly explains that it attempted to serve Reynolds at the address listed as his “service address” in the incorporation papers of Control Finance, the firm that managed the scheme. When the process server arrived at the address, he discovered that it does not actually exist.

The CFTC also tried to email Reynolds at the only known email address associated with him and his company, but got back an error message indicating that the message could not be delivered. The regulator learned from affected investors that the Ulsan District Prosecutors’ Office in South Korea is also investigating the scheme, but had similarly failed to contact Reynolds.

Cryptocurrency scams

Scammers have long been using the speculative enthusiasm surrounding cryptocurrencies to lure in and defraud unsuspecting investors. As Cointelegraph reported, Bitcoin scam ads featuring the likeness of Martin Lewis have continued to appear on social media despite Lewis’ previous efforts to prevent such illegal practices.

One particularly famous cryptocurrency-related scam is OneCoin, which was a $4 billion pyramid scheme. The scam was first discovered in May 2015. However, proceedings are still ongoing, and OneCoin’s website shut down only at the beginning of December last year.

Source Cointelegraph

Bitcoin Scam Ads Featuring Martin Lewis Now Spotted on Instagram

Bitcoin (BTC) scam ads featuring the likeness of Martin Lewis have continued to appear on social media despite Lewis’ previous efforts to prevent such illegal practices.

After the British financial expert settled a defamation lawsuit against Facebook for showing unendorsed fake Lewis crypto ads in 2019, new scam adverts have now been spotted on Facebook-owned Instagram.

Reported by Twitter user @peterfinn5252 on Jan. 7, the scam Instagram ad shows Lewis’ face to promote a fake article pretending to be published by major British national daily tabloid The Mirror. 

The fake article is titled “Martin Lewis Lends a Hand to British Families with Revolutionary Bitcoin Home Based Opportunity” and has already been red-flagged as it contains another crypto investment scam scheme.

Following the new scam alert, Lewis retweeted the post on Jan. 7 to warn users about the scam.

Fake Martin Lewis Bitcoin Scam Ad on Instagram. Source: Twitter

Fake Martin Lewis Bitcoin Scam Ad on Instagram. Source: Twitter

Lewis launched High Court proceedings against Facebook in April 2018

In April 2018, Lewis launched legal action against Facebook, accusing the social network of defamation related to deceptive cryptocurrency advertisements. At the time, Lewis claimed that the social networking giant has published more than 50 crypto-related ads with illicit use of his face and name to promote phoney financial products.

Eventually, Facebook reached a settlement with Lewis to launch a dedicated tool to report scam ads, donating 3 million British pounds ($3.9 million) to a Citizens Advice project to help tackle similar practices.

Facebook and Instagram banned crypto ads in 2018 

Both Facebook and Instagram had previously introduced bans on crypto-related ads. In January 2018, Facebook updated its advertising policy, announcing that it prohibits ads that use “misleading or deceptive promotional practices” that contain ads of crypto and initial coin offerings.

However, the social media giant eased the ban in May 2019, around one month before releasing the white paper for its own cryptocurrency project, Libra, in June. This subsequently triggered a wave of fake Libra accounts on both Facebook and Instagram, as reported by Cointelegraph in July.

Source Cointelegraph

Most Significant Hacks of 2019 — New Record of Twelve in One Year

Twelve major cryptocurrency exchange hacks occurred in 2019. Of these, 11 hacks resulted in the theft of cryptocurrency while one only involved stolen customer data. In total, $292,665,886 worth of cryptocurrency and 510,000 user logins were stolen from crypto exchanges in 2019. Cryptocurrency exchanges experienced more hacks last year than in 2018, when only nine cryptocurrency exchanges fell victim to security breaches.

As time goes on, you might think that cryptocurrency exchanges would become more secure. The reality, however, is that more hacks on cryptocurrency exchange are taking place year after year. In general, crypto exchanges remain unregulated, and it’s still unclear which regulatory agency has jurisdiction over the crypto markets.  

Although there are no established rules regarding how cryptocurrency exchanges should safeguard customer funds, there are crypto-friendly countries and states. Canada, Malta and the American state of Wyoming have created crypto-friendly legislation that makes it easier for businesses to operate and gives them guidelines regarding security practices.

Sadly, not all countries have created guidelines or laws that help crypto businesses operate and reduce the risk for consumers. The way cryptocurrency exchanges store and protect their customer’s wealth differs from exchange to exchange; unfortunately, this makes cryptocurrency exchanges a hotbed for hacks that result in the theft of cryptocurrency or customer data.  Let’s take a closer look at the cryptocurrency exchange hacks of 2019 and how much cryptocurrency, fiat and customer data was stolen in each incident.

Related: Crypto Exchange Hacks in Review

Hacks on crypto exchanges in 2019

1. Cryptopia

Date: Jan. 14, 2019

Headquarters: New Zealand

Amount stolen: $16,002,108

Just two weeks into the year, the first hack on a cryptocurrency exchange took place. New Zealand-based Cryptopia was hacked for over $16 million worth of cryptocurrency at the time. Social media users started their own investigation, according to which, over 20 different cryptocurrencies were taken from the exchange’s hot wallet.

2. LocalBitcoins

Date: Jan. 26, 2019

Headquarters: Finland

Amount stolen: $27,000

A few weeks later, the popular over-the-counter Bitcoin exchange LocalBitcoins was the victim of a security breach. Attackers were able to replace the official link to the exchange’s forum with a fraudulent link that led users to a fake page that resembled the discussion board but collected the information of the users who attempted to log in.

The attackers used the information they obtained to steal 7.9 Bitcoin — worth $27,000 at the time — from at least six user accounts.

3. Coinmama 

Date: Feb. 15, 2019

Headquarters: Israel

Amount stolen: 450,000 account usernames and passwords

In just the second month of the year, Israel-based cryptocurrency broker Coinmama learned that its database had been breached. As a result, an estimated 450,000 user account logins and passwords had been compromised and posted on a darknet registry.

4. DragonEx

Date: March 24, 2019

Headquarters: Singapore

Amount stolen: $7.09 million 

On March 24, Singapore-based exchange DragonEx posted in its official Telegram group that it had experienced a hacking attack, and as a result, a portion of the users’ and the platform’s crypto assets had been stolen. Days later, DragonEx released an announcement on its website, saying: “On March 24th, DragonEx suffered APT attack, which is the greatest challenge since DragonEx was first launched in the year of 2017. 7.09 million USDT assets are stolen.”

5. CoinBene

Date: March 25, 2019

Headquarters: Singapore

Amount stolen: $105 million

Just two days after the DragonEx hack, another cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore, CoinBene, was hacked. Many CoinBene users became suspicious of a hack when the CoinBene site unexpectedly went down for maintenance. Individuals who were tracking the CoinBene hot wallet noticed that a whopping $105 million worth of crypto assets had been removed. Even though all of the evidence is on the blockchain, CoinBene continues to deny that it was ever hacked.

Related: Over $100 Million Missing: CoinBene Claims Maintenance, a Month of Questions Point Toward a Hack

6. Bithumb

Date: March 30, 2019

Headquarters: South Korea

Amount stolen: $18.7 million

March was a bad month for cryptocurrency exchanges. Just a few days after the CoinBene hack, Bithumb was hacked for an estimated $18.7 million — $12.5 million in EOS tokens and $6.2 million in XRP. Unlike other exchange hacks, Bithumb believed that the theft was an inside job committed by a former Bithumb employee who had access to its hot wallets.

Related: North Korea and Crypto: Is the Regime Responsible for Major Hacks?

7. Binance

Date: May 7, 2019

Headquarters: Malta

Amount stolen: $40 million

On May 7, Binance — the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange — experienced a security breach. As a result, 7,000 BTC, equivalent to $40 million at the time, was stolen. In addition, Binance said that hackers were able to obtain user API keys, two-factor authentication codes and possibly more user information.

Later, on Aug. 7, it was revealed that hackers were in possession of over 60,000 pieces of Know Your Customer data from the Binance exchange. An individual going by the name “Bnatov Platon” said he or she hacked the individuals that hacked Binance back in May and discovered that the original hackers had also gained access to 60,000 pieces of customer KYC data, including the photo IDs of 10,000 Binance users. 

Related: Binance KYC Breach — Did It Happen, and If So, Who’s to Blame?

8. GateHub

Date:  June 1, 2019 

Headquarters: United Kingdom

Amount stolen: $10 million

In June, GateHub made an announcement, saying 100 of its users’ XRP wallets had been compromised. A GateHub community member took a deep dive into the hack and discovered that by June 5, 23,200,000 XRP had been stolen from 80–90 of these wallets — the equivalent to about $10 million at the time. 

9. Bitrue

Date: June 26, 2019

Headquarters: Singapore

Amount stolen: $4.23 million

At the end of June, Bitrue was hacked, and roughly $4.23 million was stolen. Hackers learned of a vulnerability in Bitrue’s security that gave them access to about 90 user accounts. Afterward, hackers used what they learned from their 90-account takeover to successful compromise Bitrue’s hot wallet. As a result, 9.3 million XRP and 2.5 million ADA were stolen.

10. BITPoint

Date: July 11, 2019

Headquarters: Japan

Amount stolen: $32 million

On July 11, Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange BITPoint was alerted of an irregular outflow of XRP from its hot wallet. Several hours later, BITPoint became aware that Bitcoin, XRP, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litcoin had been moved from the exchange’s hot wallet without authorization. In total, $32 million worth of cryptocurrency was moved out of BITPoint’s hot wallet — $23 million of which belonged to BITPoint users.

Related: BITPoint Hack Shows That Regulators’ Scrutiny Does Not Equal Safety

11. VinDAX

Date: Nov. 5, 2019

Headquarters: Vietnam

Amount stolen: $500,000

For the most part, the VinDAX hack is a mystery. VinDAX is a small cryptocurrency exchange based in Vietnam that primarily hosts token offerings for unheard of companies. Information regarding this security breach is scarce. However, The Block took a deep dive into this mysterious hack and learned from the VinDAX support staff that roughly 23 cryptocurrencies — worth $500,000 in total — had been removed from its hot wallet without authorization.

12. Upbit

Date: Nov. 27, 2019

Headquarters:  South Korea

Amount stolen: $49,116,778.00

And finally, the last hack of the decade: Upbit. Upbit is a South Korea based cryptocurrency exchange that was hacked for 342,000 ETH — equivalent to $49,116,778 at the time — on Nov. 27. All that is really known is that hackers were able to gain access to Upbit’s hot wallet and move Ether without authorization. However, Upbit released a statement shortly afterward telling users that it would be covering all of the losses with the exchange’s assets.

Related: Upbit Promises Swift Reimbursement, Theories Over Missing Funds Swell

The damage

In total, $292,665,886 worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from 11 cryptocurrency exchanges and 510,000 pieces of user information were taken from the database of one exchange — a total of 12 cryptocurrency exchanges experienced security breaches.

So, what does this all mean? It means that cryptocurrency exchanges have to do better in terms of industry standards and security practices. Sadly, we did not see enough legislation and security improvement in 2019, and we experienced even more cryptocurrency exchange hacks than in any previous year. But hopefully, these things will change in 2020 and the cryptocurrency markets will be safer for every party involved in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Source Cointelegraph

Greek Court Suspends Decision to Extradite Alleged Crypto Criminal

Greece’s top administrative court has suspended a decision to extradite Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national suspected of laundering of billions of dollars through a cryptocurrency exchange.

According to Reuters on Dec. 23, Vinnik’s lawyer said that the decision to extradite is suspended until the court hears an appeal, the date of which is still pending. 

As Cointelegraph reported, the Greek Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights had decided to extradite Vinnik to France earlier this month. At the time, the Russian Embassy expressed its regret that the Greek government “ignored” Russia’s request to extradite Vinnik to the country of his citizenship due to his deteriorating health. 

The ministry’s move to extradite had reportedly led Vinnik to start another hunger strike, leading his lawyer Zoe Costantopoulou to characterize the decision as a death sentence. 

Another extradition to come?

Vinnik is the alleged mastermind of an international money laundering scheme that processed $4 billion through the cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e. Back in 2017, Vinnik publicly declared his innocence and even offered to help Russian President Vladimir Putin as a digital technology specialist. 

As Cointelegraph reported, American prosecutors filed a complaint against Vinnik in July. Over time, multiple requests for his extradition were submitted by France, Russia and the United States, morphing the case in a tug-of-war over a strategic intelligence asset between the U.S. and Russia.

The justice ministry’s decision noted that the second extradition destination should be the U.S., and then Russia, meaning that, should proceedings be completed against him in France, he would subsequently be transferred to the U.S.

Source Cointelegraph

Cyprus SEC Flags 3 Trading Platforms That Look Suspiciously Similar

Cyprus’ Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) recently issued a warning against almost 200 unregistered investment platforms, three of which look strikingly similar and falsely advertise ties to licensed and regulated firm BDSwiss.

The CySEC posted an update to its list of unapproved website addresses on Dec. 10, which now contains 187 different names. 

The CySEC noted at the top of its posted list:

“[T]he domains that are included in the following list are not owned or operated by Cyprus Investment Firms (CIFs) which have been authorized by CySEC to provide Investment Services.” 

In a Dec. 23 brief, Finance Magnates reported on four specific unauthorized investment brokers the CySEC included on its list — Nervic Fx Trade, Crypt Fx Tm, Urban Fx Trade and Intense Fx Trade. The article included that these operations inaccurately stated connection to BDSwiss Holding Plc, a trading platform that is legitimately authorized and licensed with the CySEC. 

BDSwiss told Finance Magnates:

“BDSwiss has established an internal process over the years and we are alerted both by professional software as well as by clients themselves on clone websites or third parties using our brand name for fraud. BDSwiss’ Compliance department maintains constant communication with the regulators and takes immediate action, reporting fraudulence and clone websites whenever they come to our attention.” 

Further inspection from Cointelegraph revealed three out of the four platforms mentioned (Nervic Fx Trade, Crypt Fx Tm and Intense FX Trade) look almost exactly the same, although each domain has a different business name in the top left corner of its website page. The platforms appear to offer both foreign exchange (FX) trading, as well as crypto asset trading. 

Cointelegraph could not locate Urban Fx Trade, the fourth outfit mentioned, online. It is possible that it has already been taken down. 

The CySEC has made prior comments regarding certain companies that declared Cyprus as their home base, explaining a view that such operations were not actually located in Cyprus, but falsely asserted the location as their base, according to the report from Finance Magnates. 

Cointelegraph reached out to the CySEC and BDSwiss for comment but received no reply as of press time. This article will be updated with more information should it come in.

Earlier this year, Cointelegraph reported on Cyprus’ finance minister and blockchain regulations for the country.

Source Cointelegraph

New York Court Proceeds Against Man Allegedly Linked to OneCoin

The New York Southern District Court granted a continuance in the lawsuit against David Pike over his alleged link to the OneCoin Ponzi scheme.

Finance news outlet FinanceFeeds reported on Dec. 21 that the continuation of the case was approved until Jan. 12, 2020 based on court documents filed on Dec. 20.

“Fenero Funds” — tracking OneCoin’s laundered money trail

Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Folly reportedly stated that the parties’ counsels are discussing a potential pre-indictment disposition. The extension has been deemed as appropriate, given that those discussions are still taking place.

Pike was the chief operating officer of an alleged private equity fund known as the “Fenero Funds.” Those funds were reportedly employed to launder money from the OneCoin Ponzi scheme.

Pike is accused of having made materially false statements and representations in front of special agents from the FBI, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York representatives.

$4 billion dollar Ponzi finally ends

The defendant is alleged to have falsely claimed he was not aware that roughly $400 million was transferred into the aforementioned fund belonged to OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova or that the money came from the scheme.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, the official website for OneCoin has finally shut down, months after United States authorities indicted one of its founders for running a $4 billion pyramid scheme.

Source Cointelegraph

Russia Is Unhappy About Greece Extraditing Money Launderer Vinnik to France

Alexander Vinnik, the alleged former operator of now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e, will be extradited to France, according to a new decision from Greece.

Following years of disagreement on what jurisdiction should care about the alleged Bitcoin (BTC) laundering suspect, the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights has reportedly decided to finally extradite the Russian citizen to France. The news was reported by the Russian Embassy in Greece on Twitter on Dec. 20.

Russian Embassy expresses regret over Greece “ignoring” requests to bring Vinnik to the country of his citizenship

Noting that the decision was delivered by the Minister for Justice Konstantinos Tsiaras, the Russian Embassy expressed their regret that the Greek government “ignored” Russia’s request to extradite Vinnik to the country of his citizenship.

Russia has taken multiple steps to bring Vinnik to its homeland since the alleged Bitcoin criminal was first arrested in Greece in July 2017. Alongside filing a number of requests with Greek judicial authorities, Russia also sought help from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to bring the alleged criminal under its jurisdiction.

Alleged mastermind behind a $4 billion laundering scheme, Vinnik wanted to be extradited to Russia

However, Russia wasn’t the sole country who has been fighting for Vinnik as the United States have been seeking his extradition as well. Colloquially known as “Mr. Bitcoin,” 39-year old Vinnik is allegedly the mastermind behind an international money-laundering scheme that had processed over $4 billion worth of capital flows.

Back in 2017, Vinnik publicly declared his innocence and even offered to help Russian President Vladimir Putin as a digital technology specialist. In March 2019, Vinnik appealed with a Greek court for his release or extradition to Russia.

Controversy around BTC-e continue unabated

While Vinnik’s extradition question has been circulating in media since 2017, some new accusations have recently emerged. In July 2019, U.S. prosecutors filed a complaint against Vinnik, arguing that BTC-e and Vinnik did not attempt to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, anti-money laundering practices, or report suspicious activity generally.

In late November, Nobuaki Kobayashi, trustee of now-defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, contacted the U.S. Department of Justice in search of information about Vinnik.

Source Cointelegraph

19-Year Old Suspect Charged With $1 Million Crypto Heist via SIM-Swaps

A 19-year old man has been indicted for identity theft as part of an alleged $1+ million cryptocurrency heist affecting at least 75 victims in the United States. 

A news release published on Dec. 18 by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance alleged that Yousef Selassie, 19, conducted a complex “SIM-swapping” scheme targeting residents across 20 different states.

SIM-swapping — also known as a port-out scam — involves the theft of a victim’s cell phone number in order to hijack their online financial and social media accounts by intercepting the automated messages or phone calls used for two-factor authentication security measures. 

A nine-count indictment

As the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office news release outlines, Selassie has been indicted on nine counts, including identity theft in the first and second degrees, grand larceny in the first and fourth degrees, computer trespassing and tampering and scheming to defraud in the first degree. 

In a statement, Attorney Vance said that the suspect had perpetrated the crimes from his Brooklyn apartment, illicitly accessing accounts belonging to 75 victims and siphoning over $1 million in cryptocurrency using “little more than an iPhone and computer.”

Selassie allegedly compromised online accounts in order to determine whether his targets had cryptocurrency holdings, which included — but were not limited to — Gmail, Yahoo, and Dropbox. 

He is alleged, in some instances, to have changed the passwords to these accounts to prevent victims from regaining control, and to have “intentionally selected and targeted victims known to be active in cryptocurrency, due in part to the inherent difficulty in tracing the theft and transfer of cryptocurrency.” 

Selassie was arrested in Corona, California, pursuant to the execution of a search warrant, which led to the authorities’ recovery of various electronic devices as well as custom-made jewelry allegedly purchased using Bitcoin (BTC).

They moreover recovered a handwritten note containing a wallet seed phrase for a cryptocurrency wallet, which, when reconstituted, linked him to a number of known victims and the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency.

An ongoing threat

As reported, U.S. authorities charged a Pennsylvania man earlier this month with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and extortion via a series of SIM swaps targeting cryptocurrency execs and investors.

This November, members of REACT Task Force —  a California-based law enforcement group dedicated to fighting cybercrime — said they consider “SIM swapping” to be among the group’s top priorities in the fight against cryptocurrency-related fraud.

Addressing SIM swapping is difficult, as the success of the culprit depends on several factors out of the initial SIM-owner’s control.

In investigating SIM-swapping heists, prosecutors have identified that telecoms employees have in some instances either intentionally abused their access to customer data or have been unwitting accomplices in sharing confidential information with perpetrators. 

Michael Terpin — a blockchain and crypto investor who filed a SIM-swapping-related lawsuit against telecoms provider AT&T — likened the firm to a “a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner.”

Source Cointelegraph

Bitcoin Scammers ‘Tired’ of Crypto as Focus Switches to Prepaid Cards

Bitcoin (BTC) scammers may be abandoning the cryptocurrency to focus on extorting money via prepaid debit cards, a new study suggests.

Revealing its findings in a blog post on Dec. 16, cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab highlighted a growing trend in Brazil as an example of hackers’ growing taste for prepaid cards.

Prepaid cards’ international appeal

Specifically, a so-called “sextortion” scam — demanding a victim pay money to avoid compromising information about his or her private life going public — targets Acesso cards in the country. 

“The debit cards in this particular sextortion scheme — Acesso cards — are sold in Brazil and work with the Mastercard system,” Kaspersky explains. As such, money gleaned from cards can be spent anywhere Mastercard is accepted, the post continues: 

“One of the features of these cards is that they are usable not only in Brazil, but internationally as well. Perhaps that’s the feature that the cybercriminals in question are particularly interested in.”

Two photos to steal funds

The Acesso scam works by hackers sending fake emails en masse, which tell recipients to purchase a prepaid card in a store, load it with funds and photograph both sides. Armed with a visual representation of the card, the hackers can then spend the funds.

Whether the trend could ultimately lead to a complete loss of interest in using Bitcoin among scammers, however, is open to interpretation.

“It is still too early to say if prepaid debit cards will supplant bitcoin as the new ransom currency of choice, or whether such messages are the exception rather than the rule,” Kaspersky adds.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency-related crime remains a major threat to internet users. In its latest annual summary of new threats, Kaspersky identified a total of over 2.2 million devices targeted by mining malware alone since November 2018.

Source Cointelegraph

HitBTC Scammers Face Two Years in Jail for $140K Bitcoin Twitter Fraud

Two Canadian men who defrauded a Bitcoin (BTC) investor out of $140,000 by impersonating exchange HitBTC may serve two years in prison.

According to court records on Dec. 16, brothers Jagroop Singh Khatkar and Karanjit Singh Khatkhar pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud over a scam carried out via Twitter in July 2018.

HitBTC victim: “I feel sorry for them”

The case originally came to light in July this year, as per documents filed with the United States District Court in Portland, Oregon.

Posing as the support service for HitBTC, the pair convinced a user, an unnamed 63-year-old woman, to reveal the email address attached to her trading account. They then hacked into the account, stealing 23 BTC, worth around $140,000 at the time.

As per the documents, the Singh Khatkhars “did unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally transfer, possess, and use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another, knowing that the means of identification belonged to a real person.”

At a plea hearing on Monday, the victim took pity on the defendants, having learned she would likely win back possession of the lost funds. 

“I feel sorry for them. I have a son that’s 27. I hope they can turn their smarts into something more beneficial,” she reportedly said

The Singh Khatkhars will return for sentencing next March.

Bitcoin scams continue to surface

The case highlights the persisting trend of bad actors cashing in on cryptocurrency’s increasing mainstream appeal. 

As Cointelegraph reported, the previous few months alone have seen multiple instances of crime associated with the theft of assets, some of which dwarf the Singh Khatkhars’ $140,000 haul. 

Earlier in December, police in New Jersey arrested three men associated with an alleged cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme which collected a whopping $722 million.

Suspicions have also surfaced over new market entrants, notably in connection with the setup and profit potential touted by the founder of altcoin HEX, which launched at the start of this month.

Source Cointelegraph