Lancashire Gang Sentenced for $24 Million Crypto Exchange Fraud Scheme

Group of four people based in lancashire were recently sentenced for a scheme worth over $24 million involving a glitch in an unnamed australian crypto exchange. the scheme reportedly took place over a three-month period in 2017 and saw the group steal over $24 million worth of bitcoin at the time of their arrest. the lancashire police force and international law enforcement in regions such as australia and finland worked closely together on the case, along with the uk’s crown prosecution service. the group was convicted last year and sentenced last friday for a variety of offenses including converting criminal property and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Alleged ringleader of the group, james parker, died in 2021 and therefore did not live to be sentenced. stephen boys told the court he used £1 million ($1.23 million) cash stored in a suitcase “to buy a villa from russians he met in the back office of an estate agent” and that he paid £60,000 ($74,000) to help launder the stolen funds by making payments to officials in an unnamed country. the police department responsible for the prosecution claimed to have seized “luxury watches, houses, cars and designer goods, including a £600 ($740) wine cooler” from the gang and also handed out £5000 ($6,171) gift cards.

Group reportedly made so much money from the fraud that the ringleader allegedly bought cars for people he met in the pub with the illicit funds. the uk’s national crime agency (nca) seized almost £27 million ($33 million) worth of cryptocurrencies in the 2021-22 financial year and announced the launch of a new team with a remit to proactively investigate cryptocurrency crime, dubbed the national cyber crime unit (nccu) crypto cell. the nccu crypto cell is currently recruiting experienced team members. it is unclear exactly how the group was able to exploit the glitch in the australian crypto exchange to make their millions, but it is clear that they took advantage of the opportunity to commit fraud.

By Evey Lovelace

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