News Crime Money-laundering case highlights law enforcement’s cryptocurrency challenge
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Money-laundering case highlights law enforcement’s cryptocurrency challenge

Bitcoin's recent surge has commentators divided on the future of the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin and similar cyber-mined cryprocurrencies are crime's new frontier. Getty
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A Sydney man has been sentenced to 16 months in jail for using cryptocurrency and a series of stolen identities to launder money.

The 46-year-old set up cryptocurrency accounts in seven different names using stolen identity details, and deposited Bitcoin into each.

He used an ATM service of cryptocurrency provider BitRocket, which allows customers to withdraw Australian dollars from their Bitcoin accounts, to withdraw $43,350 in total across numerous transactions.

The man was arrested in June 2020 while withdrawing money at one of the ATMs, after the cryptocurrency company tipped off police to suspicious transactions.

Police had established the same man was taking cash from the seven different accounts, and found $6500 in cash and a small amount of methamphetamine when they searched his Sydney apartment.

The man pleaded guilty in February to seven counts of money laundering, one charge of identity theft and a drug offence.

Ongoing investigation

He was sentenced on Wednesday by the Sydney Central Local Court.

He’s been in custody for the last nine months and will be eligible for release on good behaviour after serving 12 months.

AFP detectives are still investigating the source of the Bitcoin, which they suspect was stolen from Western Australia in 2019, as well as the stolen identity details and whether the man was acting alone.

AFP Cybercrime Detective Acting Inspector Thomas Walker said cryptocurrency and stolen identities were new challenges for police.

“Criminals are continually trying to identify new opportunities to profit at the expense of other people, but we are focused on identifying and stopping anyone who tries to cheat the system and defraud others,” he said.

AAP