Since the beginning of time, there has been crime, and bad actors in the world and this phenomenon will not cease anytime soon. In what has been described as the first of its kind operation in the history of the over a century old department, London police have sentenced “Courvoisier” a notorious computer hacker from whom half a million pounds sterling in bitcoin was seized in 2017.
Dark Web Vendor Faces Jail Time
Grant West, a 26-year old resident of the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, has been sentenced to ten years and eight months in jail for criminal activities.
West was able to obtain personal data of 165,000 people as well as 63,000 credit and debit cards by sending phishing emails claiming to be an official of Just Eat, an online takeaway delivery firm. The incident cost the company a whopping £200,000 ($266,161) to sort out.
According to Bloomberg, the London Metropolitan police declared that West also hacked computers of large organizations including the British Cardiovascular Society, Sainsbury’s, Asda, a Finnish bitcoin exchange and more.
The police also seized a memory card that contained at least 78 million usernames and passwords of West’s victims.
Police Committed to Pursuing Offenders on the Dark Web
According to local news source KentOnline, the highly skilled hacker pleaded guilty to a two counts charge of conspiracy to defraud, one charge of computer hacking, four charges of possession and supply of cannabis, two counts of possessing criminal property and one count charge of money laundering bitcoin.
The head of the Met’s Organised Crime Command, Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Gallagher, praised all the officers and detectives that made the case successful.
In his words:
“This case illustrates the lengths our detectives will go to in order to pursue offenders on the dark web. We will use many different measures to ensure such offenders are identified, prosecuted and their assets are seized.”
West’s former girlfriend, Rachel Brookes, a 26-year old resident of Denbigh, North Wales whose computer the dark web merchant used in carrying out some of the attacks, claimed the unauthorized use of computer material. Brookes was slapped with just two years community order and curfew at a Southwark Crown Court back in March 2018.
While cases of cryptocurrency-related crimes seem to be on a continuous increase, the security operatives have been doing quite a commendable job in apprehending these bad actors.
“This is the first time we have seized a cryptocurrency. We are determined to remain one step ahead of cyber criminals who believe they can act with impunity,” the police chief declared, adding ” I wish to thank our partners within the MPS and in both public and private industry who all assisted with this investigation which was incredibly complex and lengthy. I am very proud of my team for bringing this offender to justice.”
10 Years Not Enough
Considering the enormity of the crime committed, a ten-year sentence for West, a man described as “a one-man cybercrime wave,” doesn’t look like a severe penalty.
On April 6, 2018, BTCManager published a story about Gabriele Pearson, a U.K. citizen whose £50,000 ($66,540.25) worth of bitcoin was seized in a “proceeds of crime order” and he was subsequently given a mere 15-month jail term.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have come to stay, and many more criminals will try using blockchain-based virtual currencies to aid their ugly activities. Therefore it is essential to formulate more stringent penalties for all crypto-related crimes in order to have a crime-free cryptospace.