21-year-old Australian woman taken into custody over bitcoin fraud claims
A woman from the Australian city of Melbourne has been taken into custody there over claims that she defrauded a range of victims.
The woman, who appears to have not yet been named, was arrested by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in conjunction with the Australian Federal Police force.
It is understood that the charges involved also pertain to identity theft.
According to press reports, the woman and her alleged accomplices were involved in money laundering using crypto coins.
They allegedly stole from people’s pension savings funds using complex identity mimicking measures, and then converted the proceeds of this alleged crime into cryptocurrency.
The internet supposedly played a large role in the creation of the alleged scam.
Fake IDs were believed to have been bought online through the “dark web”.
In a story which matches many cases of crypto fraud, SIM cards for mobile phones were also allegedly involved as a way of maintaining fake identities.
Real-world banks were also supposedly used by the group
In a statement, the Australian Federal Police’s manager for cyber crime operations, acting commander Chris Goldsmid, said that the alleged crimes were happening “on multiple levels”.
“This complex and detailed investigation revealed cybercrime occurring on multiple levels, and is an example of strong partnerships between Commonwealth Government agencies working together to disrupt organized crime that affects the Australian community”, he said.
Copycat website highlighted as potential fraud risk
A website purporting to be the legitimate US-based crypto firm Bitpay has been flagged as a potential fraud site.
The fake site was spotted by regulators in a small European country.
The Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), which is the financial regulator of Luxembourg, made the claims.
In a notice published online, the regulator appeared to suggest that the fake Bitpay site had been set up in Luxembourg against the knowledge of the authorities.
It claimed to be located at 14 rue Erasme, L-1468, Luxembourg – but the regulator’s statement said that the fake site was “unknown” to it.
“The CSSF informs the public that an entity named bit-bay EUROPE S.A. is unknown to it and that it has not been granted any authorization to provide payment services in or from Luxembourg”, it read.
It is understood that the fake site used the slightly different name “Bitbay”.
The real company, Bitpay, is a respected American payment processer which deals in several major cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, bitcoin cash and Ethereum.
The real site is regulated in the US by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). It claims to be the world’s biggest bitcoin payment processor.
More broadly, Bitpay recently said that it would temporarily no longer operate in Germany – which is located close to Luxembourg.
This is not believed to be linked to the copycat site, however. In a statement, Bitpay said it was due to the impending requirement for licenses to be issued there before crypto sites can operate.
“We have paused operations in Germany while we evaluate the need for German licenses”, it said.