This bunch of Bitcoin infiltrators weren’t prepared for the outcome of their nefarious deeds; the amount of money they stole was so big that it caused them to lose focus and eventually ended up getting busted.

The infiltrators – a group of friends – have been charged with stealing almost £21 million from a cryptocurrency trading website. 

James Parker, Kelly Caton, Stephen Boys, Jordan Robinson and James Austin-Beddoes are accused of taking money from a glitch in the website, whose name has not been disclosed by BBC.

The men used their knowledge of cryptocurrencies to siphon off the money and launder it through various accounts around the world.

Bitcoin Heist Masterminded From Flat

Lancashire Police said the men masterminded the plot from their apartment room in Blackpool after learning about a glitch in the said cryptocurrency trading website.

The wannabe criminals behind a bitcoin scam in the United Kingdom were so excited about their new-found wealth that they spent it all on lavish lifestyles, BBC reported.

The Manchester Evening News reports that the gang was jailed this week for between six years and 18 months after the exploit that netted them $26.9 million in bitcoin.

Police reportedly recovered 445 bitcoins, luxury watches, cars, property, designer items and a 600 wine cellar.

Giving Away Cars, Gift Cards To People

In addition to their luxurious possessions, the gang had bank accounts containing over $1 million and they were even able to buy a luxury villa for $1 million in cash that was handed over in a suitcase, the report said.

At one point they allegedly were able to give over $73,000 to corrupt officials so their scam could continue—and that’s not even all of it.

They made money so quickly that Parker bought cars for strangers and gave away £5,000 vouchers to try to deal with the proceeds. But it fell apart when Caton reported to police having her Bitcoin stolen.

The fraudsters used the internet from their own homes, and it turns out that over $1 million worth of Bitcoin was involved. A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: 

“A very significant amount of the laundered assets have been returned or are in the process of being recovered on the behalf of the Australian cryptocurrency exchange.”

The four men were arrested after police received information from Australian authorities about suspicious activity on a cryptocurrency exchange website registered by one of them.

Lancaster Police Det. Sgt. Wainwright said:

“The wealth they came across was probably too much for them to comprehend themselves.”

The Sentence

The gang was charged with converting criminal property and transferring criminal property overseas—which carries up to 15 years in prison per charge (with an additional three years).

Meanwhile, Parker passed away in 2021 before he could be prosecuted. His death clearly saved him from what would have been a long stay behind bars.

After Parker died, his corrupt financial adviser Boys was convicted of a number of fraud offenses and received a six-year prison sentence. 

Boys’ co-conspirators Caton, Robinson and Austin-Beddoes were also convicted of fraud charges and received four-year jail terms.

Featured image from Information Age

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