Bad Actor’s Illegally Acquired Bitcoin Wealth Seized by UK Authorities
Even with the slump in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, digital assets remain a hotcake for cybercriminals and bad actors. Gabriele Pearson is the latest bad guy in the British crypto space.
PayPal for Bitcoin
According to V3, UK resident Gabriele Pearson has succeeded in adding his name to the history books as one of the infamous pioneers of bitcoin crime in Britain. His £50,000 ($70,010) bitcoin stash has been seized in a “proceeds of crime order,” and he’s been hammered with a 15-month jail term.
The internet fraudster stole people’s PayPal login details and laundered the proceeds via Second Life, an exciting online game, before using the stolen funds to buy bitcoin.
Thanks to the clever police officers of the Surrey and Sussex police Joint Cyber Crime Unit, who painstakingly traced the funds to Pearson’s personal computer, they discovered he was a bitcoin enthusiast through his search history and had bought the cryptocurrency with the stolen funds.
First Confiscation of Bitcoin Under Proceeds of Crime Act
The cryptos were promptly seized, following Section 47 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The Surrey Police Economic Crime Unit may confiscate the bitcoin under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. A police detective investigating the case revealed to the court that the Slough, Berkshire cyberpunk was able to perpetuate the crime through the login details of clients he obtained at his workplace.
“Gabriele Pearson committed his crimes by repeatedly remote logging onto a series of computers owned by his IT Company and their client, forming a complex chain of logins. He obtained company PayPal account information and laundered the money via a virtual world called Second Life, which uses virtual currency Linden Dollars, where he then converted those into bitcoin. At the time of arrest, he had obtained 9.9 BTC in total,” said Detective Constable Paul.
Pearson didn’t stop there. He even tried to increase the amount the stolen PayPal account could transfer to £50,000 ($70,010), but while waiting for confirmation from the payment processor, the police burst his bubble.
“He primed the account to accept larger sums of cash, but his offending was noticed while he was waiting for confirmation from PayPal that he could increase the transfer limit to £50,000. He was able to request this as he had accessed further private documents that meant he could bypass PayPal’s identification requirements,” Paul explained.
As said earlier, Pearson was only sentenced to 15 months in prison. Because the rate of cyber fraud has steadily been on the rise in recent times, the author firmly believes that if the jail term for bitcoin-related crime is increased, it could deter from following same paths with Pearson.