PayPal Scammer Has £50,000 of Bitcoin Seized As UK First
Mike Sanders / 2 weeks ago
PayPal Scammer Has £50,000 of Bitcoin Seized
Regardless of your personal opinion surrounding cryptocurrency, one of the main reasons for its political critics is its use in criminality. Given the near untraceable nature of it, it’s pretty clear why Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are highly popular. It seems, however, that it may not necessarily be as untraceable as some might think.
In a report via The Inquirer, however, it seems that the UK has it’s first confirmed legal seizure of Bitcoin. Well, there is always a first. The question is though, are cryptocurrencies so anonymous?
Last week, PayPal scammer Gabriele Pearson was sentenced 15 months in prison. His sentence was due to stealing PayPal account details and fraud in general. From this, they started laundering the money through Second Life (apparently people still ‘play’ that). Finally, the money was put into Bitcoin. During the investigation, police had been able to identify the trail leading up to the Bitcoin investment. While cryptocurrencies might be anonymous, your internet activity isn’t necessarily. From there though, things get a little unclear.
While they were not initially able to identify the Bitcoin account, they did find that his internet search history had expressed a lot of interest in cryptocurrencies. I, therefore, guess that it didn’t take them too much effort to join the dots here. Exactly how they identified the account is unclear. In these instances, courts are known to offer lesser sentences when money is voluntarily handed over. It’s also entirely possible they were just careless with his wallet address. Which it is though is a matter of speculation. Either option though is entirely possible.
Careless or Efficient Policing?
It would seem that Gabriele Pearson brought about their own demise. Having requested an increase in their PayPal balance to £50,000, their account came into question. Specifically, the actions upon it. From this, it seems the police investigation begun which eventually led to their arrest and subsequent imprisonment. This does, however, indicate the first instance of Bitcoin being seized as part of a criminal proceeding in the UK. I’m not certain that this will bring Gabriele Pearson any consolation though.
What do you think about this? Will this open the door for more seizures? Was this person just careless? Are the UK police getting more savvy about cryptocurrencies? – Let us know in the comments!