Virtual currency and very real scam. On December 6, coordinated arrests and searches took place in the Paris, Megève and Cannes region, aimed at actionFraud organized gangs and money laundering. After the placement in police custody of two suspects, Frédérique Porterie, the prosecutor Bordeauxannounced in a press release this Friday that they were indicted by an investigating magistrate of the Specialized Interregional Judiciary (JIRS) on Thursday. from Bordeaux and taken into custody.
Victims were robbed in exchange for counterfeit banknotes
They allegedly posed as wealthy investors and notably acted under the false identities of Philippe Pictet, Alexander Karlstein or Richard Von Stein to hijack crypto assets (Bitcoins, Ethereum, USDC). They persuaded their victims of all nationalities to find them in a hotel outside of their country of residence. “During the date, victims transferred crypto assets in exchange for a case of counterfeit banknotes or to digital wallets whose scammers obtained the private key or recovery code by spoofing the victim’s phone, and then arbitrarily over the funds available,” explains the press release.
The first victims contacted in July 2019 lost the equivalent of more than a million euros in crypto assets in Milan and new facts were committed in Paris and Milan in 2022 for a damage equivalent to 500,000 euros.
58,000 euros in cash, Porsche, luxury watch…
After the sale of the Bergerac public prosecutor’s office, which was dealing with a first complaint, at the end of 2021, the Bordeaux public prosecutor’s office JIRS issued a European investigation decision intended for Italy to initiate the investigation. “The technical investigations carried out by the Bordeaux research department and the monitoring of the blockchain (public registry of crypto-asset transactions) also made it possible to identify individuals responsible for the laundering of the funds thus diverted,” adds the prosecutor.
Searches of the suspects’ homes, carried out in coordination with JIRS Paris and the Central Office for the Fight against Serious Financial Crimes, led to the seizure of 58,000 euros in cash, two Porsche vehicles, a Bentley car, a luxury car estimated at 50,000 euros, the equivalent of 280,000 euros in crypto-assets (transferred to an agency account for the administration and confiscation of confiscated and confiscated assets) and forged documents related to the nature of the charges.
Investigations continue to identify the accomplices and other victims of these acts.