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UK police recover $22M in crypto including $9.5M of Ethereum from online scammers

Authorities arrested two persons allegedly involved in the scam, which led to the discovery of the storage device containing Ether.

Image by Miloslav Hamřík from Pixabay

Wed, 18 Aug 2021, 12:38 pm UTC

U.K. police have recovered around $22.2 million, including more than $9 million in Ethereum (ETH) from cybercriminals who ran an online crypto phishing scam. Authorities arrested two persons allegedly involved in the scam, which led to the discovery of the storage device containing Ether.

The Economic Crime Unit of the Greater Manchester Police was able to recover £16 million ($22 million) in stolen cryptocurrency from online scammers, according to Decrypt. Authorities discovered the digital currencies when they discovered a USB stick containing the crypto assets when arresting two persons believed to be involved in the crime.

The two suspects, a 23-year-old male and a 25-year-old female, were arrested for fraud and money laundering. While both have been released, they are still under investigation.

The police said that a total of £6.85 million ($9.4 million) in Ethereum was found in the encrypted USB drive. A few days later, authorities also discovered a cryptograph deposit box, which is a type of online safe, and discovered an additional $12.7 million, according to Coindesk.

It was not specified if the additional $12.7 found in the deposit box is composed of Ethereum (ETH) or other cryptos. However, the police said that 90 percent of the stolen crypto has already been tracked down.

Victims of the online phishing scam came from the U.K., Hong Kong, the U.S., China, Australia, and Europe. They were tricked into depositing money into what they believed to be an online savings and trading service built on Binance Smart Chain.

The scammers waited until a “significant amount of money” has been deposit by its victims. When this was reached, they shut down the website and diverted the funds to their own crypto wallets.

“Our lives are increasingly moving online or onto our phones, and currencies like bitcoin and ethereum are often seen as the future when it comes to money and trading,” Economic Crime Unit’s Detective Chief Inspector Joe Harrop said. “With that comes a new type of crime and we're seeing a rise in opportunist criminals looking to exploit these trends.”

The police are still in the process of returning the funds to the scammers’ victims. However, some victims are yet to be identified.

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  • Bitcoin (btc) $42,165.00 (-0.81%)
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