A Taiwanese man suspected of stealing electricity worth over $3 million to mine Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) has been arrested, according to a report from local news channel EBC Dongsen News Dec. 26.

The suspect, whose surname has been given as Yang, has been accused of allegedly stealing the electricity to successfully mine cryptocurrencies worth over 100 million yuan (around $14.5 million). Yang is purported to have used a minimum of 17 various business premises to open toy shops or internet cafes there as a facade for his alleged crypto mining activities.

The report claims Yang hired electricians to rewire the premises in such a way as to evade electricity metering and detection of the stolen power. State-owned utility provider the Taiwan Power Company is reported to have first noticed irregularities in the power supply, prompting a police investigation. In addition to Yang, a suspected accomplice has also been reportedly identified.

Wang Zhicheng, deputy head of the fourth brigade of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, is quoted by EBC Dongsen News as saying that:

“The [suspects] recruited electricians who managed to break into the sealed meters in order to add in private lines to use electricity for free before that usage reaches the meters.”

Suspected power theft to fuel crypto mining operations is not unprecedented; this October, a man in China’s northern Shanxi province  was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for allegedly stealing power from a train station to fuel his Bitcoin mining operations.

Also in China — this time in the country’s Anhui province — a separate suspect was arrested for attempting to steal electricity to fund his reportedly “unprofitable” mining operations.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

A DuPage County, Illinois judge has ruled that a woman charged with paying $10,000 in bitcoin for a Dark Web hitman to have her former lover’s wife killed must continue wearing a GPS monitoring device as the case goes on. 32 year-old Tina Jones of Des Plaines, Illinois has been arraigned on four counts of solicitation of murder for hire, two counts of solicitation of murder and attempted first-degree murder after authorities were alerted about a contract denominated in bitcoin which was placed on the unnamed woman’s life.

Earlier in the year, she was given the GPS monitor as part of her bail conditions – a condition which her lawyer says is now financially unbearable because of the $10 per day fee associated with it. To date he says, Jones has paid more than $2,390 since she was granted bail on April 23. If convicted on the Class X felonies, she faces up to 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

In the application, Jones’ lawyer said:

Ms. Jones would otherwise request that all other conditions of bond remain in effect, including that she be required to stay within the state of Georgia unless traveling to Illinois for court, and then she may only stay within Illinois for 24 hours. This court can be fairly assured of Ms. Jones continued compliance because of the support of her family (who travel with her to every court appearance), her performance while on release thus far, and other factors to be discussed with this court.

The judge however turned down the request, stating instead that the clerk’s office should deduct the GPS monitoring fee from the $25,000 bail she posted for the duration of the bail program.

Case Background

The case against Jones started out as an investigation by CBS program “48 hours” into a purported illegal service platform on the internet called ‘The Cosa Nostra International Network.’ While the platform itself turned out to be little more than a scam website harvesting cryptocurrency from inexperienced wannabe criminal masterminds, the investigating team noticed a contract on the website for the murder of a clinical social worker in Naperville.

The police were alerted immediately and Jones was arrested shortly thereafter on suspicion of solicitation of murder. According to police, Jones who is scheduled to appear in court on February 13 provided the purported hitman with a clear blueprint for eliminating her love rival including her lover’s work schedule and instructions to make the murder look like an accident.

In April, Jones was granted bail and allowed to live with her parents in Georgia.

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Following months of investigation into the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia, the country’s attorney general Tommy Thomas has filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs International and two of its Asian subsidiaries alongside former Goldman Partner Tim Leissner, alleged scam mastermind Jho Low and former 1MDB counsel Jasmine Loo. The Wall Street Journal reports that Malaysian authorities earlier today released a statement confirming the prosecution for omitting material information and publishing untrue statements, which are offenses under Malaysia’s securities laws.

Attorney General’s Statement and Goldman Sachs Response

In the statement, the attorney general revealed that the offenses in question were in relation to documents for international bond sale offering in 2012 and 2013 by Malaysia’s state-run investment ehicle 1Malaysia Development Bhd., also known as 1MDB. According to the prosecution, of $6.5 billion worth of bonds that were arranged by Goldman Sachs in that period, about $2,7 billion was embezzled, with the bank making profits of over $600 million in the process.

Since that time, 1MDB has become a political and legal black hole, bringing down the government of former prime minister Najib Razak and becoming the focus of a vast international investigation led by the United States Justice Department alongside authorities across Southeast Asia and Europe. Goldman Sachs is front and centre of the investigation, with former executive Roger Ng currently fighting extradition to the U.S.to face charges by the Justice Department.

An excerpt from the statement reads:

Malaysia considers the allegations in the charges against the accused to be grave violations of our securities laws, and to reflect their severity, prosecutors will seek criminal fines against the accused well in excess of the $2.7 billion misappropriated from the bonds proceeds and $600 million in fees received by Goldman Sachs, and custodial sentences against each of the individual accused: the maximum term of imprisonment being 10 years.

Leissner on his part has already pleaded guilty in a separate case brought against him by the U.S. Justice Department last month on charges of embezzling public money and bribing public officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi. While he awaits sentencing fixed for next year, Low and Loo have been charged in absentia with money laundering and a host of other charges, but their whereabouts are unknown for the time being.

Responding to the charges in a statement quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Goldman Sachs said:

We believe these charges are misdirected, will vigorously defend them and look forward to the opportunity to present our case. The firm continues to cooperate with all authorities investigating these matters.

Cryptocurrency’s Significance

At a time when some are calling for aggressive regulation of cryptocurrencies, this case illustrates the potential that exists for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency systems to create a positive disruption within the existing banking paradigm which permits or even encourages theft and inefficiency through opaque processes and practices.

The complete transparency offered by cryptocurrencies makes it very unlikely that a single sticky-fingered public official would realistically get away with diverting the better part of a billion dollars, aided and abetted by private bankers whose only real interest is in their fees – $600 million in this case. The use of smart contracts for example, in carrying out large, high-level financial operations like 1MDB would make them substantially more efficient and much less prone to corrupt siphoning of public funds as in this case.

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Cyber criminals seem to have reached a new low, as they have targeted the site of one of the most popular children’s foundations in the world and infected it with crypto mining malware.

In a published report this week, researchers from security firm Trustwave reported that a CoinImp crypto mining script was injected into the Make-A-Wish Foundation website and that this script used the computing the power of visitor’s to mine cryptocurrencies for the hackers.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation site was built on Drupal, a popular open-source content management system. Earlier this year, Drupal announced that there had been a vulnerability in their software that allowed hackers to inject malicious code into specific sites that had not incorporated their security patch. Just this spring, the Drupalgeddon 2 bug, a Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerability in older versions of Drupal, affected over 100,000 sites.

Trustwave researchers believe the Make-A-Wish Foundation website might have been compromised through the same vulnerability. The foundation subsequently identified and removed the malicious script in question.

Cryptojacking, which involves the use of malicious code to force other computer users to mine cryptocurrencies without their knowledge, has become a near-epidemic for internet users.

Earlier this year, a Citrix report revealed that a cryptojacking malware had hit at least 59% of UK companies at some point.

In India, cryptojacking is a menace, with over 300,000 routers in Brazil and India found to have been injected with crypto mining malware. The Economic Times (ET) revealed in September that Indian government websites had not been spared from this phenomenon, stating that widely trusted Indian portals had been exploited by the cryptojacking menace.

According to a security researcher quoted by ET, government websites were targeted due to the high number of online visitors and the trust these visitors have when they visit them.

“Earlier, we saw a lot of government websites getting defaced (hacked). Now, injecting cryptojackers is more fashionable as the hacker can make money.”

Internet security provider McAfee Labs weighed in on the epidemic last week, warning users of a new cryptojacking malware called “WebCobra,” which it said can operate without a trace on a victim’s computer.

The researchers went on to state:

“As the malware increases power consumption, the machine slows down, leaving the owner with a headache and an unwelcome bill.”

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A group of young professional men was accused by Manhattan District Attorney’s Office of breaking into a friend’s apartment and torturing him in order to gain access to his wallet.

According to an article from the NY Post, the group of friends went to drink and have fun, and after the victim was drunk, the criminal group seized the opportunity to break into his apartment and violently force him to reveal the secret keys to his wallet.

Nicholas Truglia, 27, never imagined how far his friends were willing to go for money. David Leica, 19, Steven Dorn, 29, and Chris David, 25 and Stephen Orso, 25 accompanied Truglia to his luxury apartment on West 42nd Street at about 2:50 a.m. on Sept. 7, where they proceeded to apply multiple tortures to his friend.
The story that appears in the court papers is quite explicit:

“(Truglia) provide him (Orso) with login information for his cryptocurrency accounts while holding his head underwater in the bathtub, punching him in the stomach and throwing hot wax on him

After analyzing a series of surveillance footage, it became evident that the friends escaped two hours after taking Truglia to his apartment. One of them looked like “to be concealing a rectangular object under his sweatshirt consistent with a laptop computer.”

David Leica (left) and Stephen Orso (right). Two of the four guys accused of torturing a friend to get access to his wallet
David Leica (left) and Stephen Orso (right)

According to the victim’s testimony, Truglia woke up the next day and noticed that his iPhone, laptop, and hardware wallet had disappeared. He immediately reported it to the authorities.

The prosecution has not given details about whether the criminals stole or misused Truglia’s funds. Nor did they mention which cryptos the victim used.

Apparently, Leica returned the iPhone to Truglia the next day in an Uber, and Chris David returned his wax-splashed laptop shortly thereafter.

The defense denied all of Truglia’s accusations against the four men. According to Stacey Richman, the group’s defense attorney, her clients were just “helping a person who had over-imbibed.”

“I provided audio to the district attorney’s office wherein the complainant admits these allegations are false … It’s disappointing that our standard of journalism does not permit the innocent to have their day in court and slanders them upon accusation.”

The group was charged with second-degree burglary and are due back in court March 14

This post is credited to ethereumworldnews

Multiple Amsterdam businesses received emails threatening them with hand grenades or shootings if they do not pay €50,000 in bitcoins to the sender, the NLTimes reported on Oct. 31.

Bitcoin ‘Terrorists’ Threaten Amsterdam Coffeeshops with Bullets and Grenades

Cyber terrorists are targeting Amsterdam, demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin from multiple coffee shops and threatening them with live hand grenades and firearms if they don’t pay up.

The police have confirmed that that multiple reports of this email have been received and all are currently under investigation.

The threatening email, which is in possession of AT5, a local media outlet, was purportedly sent to at least three coffee shops and Club ABE on Amstelstraat. The first was reported in May 2018 by Club ABE, which disclosed an incident with a hand grenade tied to the club’s door in August 2017.

According to the broadcaster, the email read:

“You probably noticed how many entrepreneurs have had to close their doors recently by order of the municipality. To prevent you from being the next one, you must immediately take action.”

The writer instructs the entrepreneur to create an account on coinmama.com or coinbase.com, buy 50 thousand euros in bitcoin, and transfer it to a specific address.

Cyberterrorists Taking Advantage of Municipal Laws

The threats made by the group dubbed “the bitcoin terrorists” take advantage of the municipality of Amsterdam’s policy to close businesses after a shooting or an explosive was found.

However, Maurice Veldman, the lawyer representing several coffee shops in the city, told AT5 that owners are not impressed by the email and that these types of intimidation are not taken seriously and are very easy to make.

However, all of his clients were required to report the threats as they signed a covenant with the mayor stating that they are obliged to report everything related to safety. He also stressed that none of the coffeeshops paid the demanded amount and there have been no incidents.

The municipality of Amsterdam has also worked on changing its policy on closing businesses after a shooting or an incident with explosive. In September 2018, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema said that the city is gradually becoming more precise in the application of such measures.

This post is credited to cryptoslate

Makaveli Lindén, the primary suspect in the gruesome murder of 24-year-old Norwegian bitcoin investor Heikki Bjørklund Paltto, is in police custody following a successful international manhunt.

Swedish news outlet Aftonbladet reports that Oslo police have confirmed that Lindén, 20, has been captured more than a week after he allegedly stabbed Paltto to death in the latter’s apartment in Oslo’s Majorstuen neighborhood.

Lindén, a foreign national residing in Uppsala, Sweden, had fled Norway following the murder, allegedly returning to his home city before leaving Sweden as well. According to local reports, the suspect was ultimately arrested in France, though Norwegian police have not yet confirmed this publicly.

Initially, the crime appeared connected to Paltto’s cryptocurrency investments, which had reportedly made him hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits. Sources within the local police department said that he had sold a large amount of bitcoin shortly before the murder, and other sources said that he may have been planning to use the funds — which he was keeping in his residence — to purchase an apartment.

However, Lindén’s alleged involvement in the incident has led police to believe that Paltto may have just been a random victim. The 20-year-old suspect, who had a long rap sheet related to theft and drug abuse convictions, is also alleged to have committed another robbery at knife-point not far from the murder scene.

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A Norwegian man was brutally stabbed to death shortly after completing an in-person cash-for-bitcoin exchange, and investigators believe that the two events may be linked.

According to Norwegian news organization TV 2, the stabbing occurred on Monday morning at the 24-year-old victim’s apartment in Majorstuen, an affluent neighborhood in Oslo, likely between 7:50 am and 12:10 pm — when one of his roommates discovered the crime scene.

Sources within the Oslo police department told TV 2 that the murder victim had completed a bitcoin trade shortly before the tragic incident and that others within his social circle were aware of his cryptocurrency dealings.

Grete LIen Metlid, the leader of the Oslo police department’s head of intelligence and investigations unit, told the publication that investigators were aware of a tip involving a possible bitcoin connection, but he declined to elaborate further.

“We are familiar with a tip about Bitcoin, but at this time we will not provide more information about the investigation,” said Metlid, according to a rough translation, adding that the department investigates “widely” and that “economic motives” are always a primary area of interest for investigators.

As of the time of writing, the police did not have any suspects, nor had they made any arrests. Per local reports, forensic analysts continued to investigate the scene on Wednesday night.

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An American bitcoin trader has been arrested in the Philippines for allegedly killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in a river.

Well-known bitcoin trader and Californian native Troy Woody Jr. was arrested together with Brooklyn native Mir Islam over the murder of Tomi Michelle Masters, according to the Daily Mail. The two are accused of suffocating Tomi, who hailed from Indiana, with a plastic bag before stuffing her body in a box and dumping it in Manila’s Pasig River.

Tragic End of Vacation

bitcoin trader philippines

CCTV footage that has been released shows the two men loading a huge box into the back of a ride operated by Asian taxi-hailing service and Uber-competitor Grab. While the two have confessed to dumping the body in the river, they both accuse the other of the murder, per the head superintendent of Mandaluyong City Police Custodial Facility, Igmedio Bernaldez:

We have yet to establish the motive. The three were here on vacation. If you ask the boyfriend, he will point to his friend as the killer. But if you ask the other suspect, he will say it was his friend who killed her. They are being questioned and the home they were staying at is being searched for evidence.

The suspicious behavior of the two was reported to the police by the cab driver. When the police searched the river, they found Tomi’s body which was wound in duct tape and covered in scratches. A post-mortem indicated that she died of suffocation, according to police. Troy and Tomi had been sharing an apartment in Manila after they moved to the Philippines from California.

According to friends, Tomi and Troy had a falling out earlier this month, and this emanated from Tomi’s desire to return to Indiana where she originally was from. Per Tomi’s father, Shawn Masters, Islam was of the view that if Tomi left for Indiana, Troy would follow her and consequently disrupt their ventures:

Islam needed TJ — he was the brains behind whatever it was they were doing.

‘Early Crypto Investor’

After their arrest, the two men indicated that they were both chief executive officers of Delaware-registered cryptocurrency trading firm known as Luxr LLC. On Twitter where he has more than 17,000 followers, Troy’s profile simply reads “Early Crypto Investor.” Troy’s following on Instagram is many times larger at 250,000, and in both accounts, he has documented a taste for luxuries including Swiss watches, Christian Louboutin shoes, and Dom Perignon champagne.

One of the cryptocurrency trades that Troy celebrated last year was buying Litecoin at US$50 and selling it at US$80 managing to turn a profit of US$24,000 in 11 days.

Besides trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Troy is also believed to be a core member of online mischief-making group UGNazi alongside Islam. Two years ago Islam received a 12-month prison sentence for crimes that included swatting (calling police with false information in order for SWAT teams to raid homes of particular targets), cyber-stalking, and exposing the privileged personal data of his victims online.

This post is credited to ccn