$3M in Crypto Seized from Cybercriminals by Bulgarian Authorities
The Bulgarian Authorities have reportedly busted and seized over $3 million worth of cryptocurrency from a cybercriminal gang that is specialized in internet frauds. It was reported that three individuals were arrested and charged with fraudulently obtaining more than 5 million lev ($3 million) through illegal internet schemes. This is one of the latest breakthroughs after a series of investigations targeted at curbing cryptocurrency related fraud by the Bulgaria’s Specialized Prosecutor’s Office.
Crypto news outlet CCN reported in January that the Bulgarian Specialized Prosecutor’s Office engaged in an international operation aimed at neutralizing the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme OneCoin, alongside investigators from Germany and Europol. Later in November, Ivan Geshev, the country’s Chief Prosecutor of the State revealed that some numbers of officials had been arrested for allegedly issuing Bulgarian passports illegally in exchange for bitcoin.
This latest investigation started with gathering of cogent evidences against the accused individuals in June and eventually, the arrests were made on November 22, several computers were seized, flash drives and other hardware containing data on multiple accounts of genuine and non-existent individuals that had been used for the illegal scheme. Investigators also found several passwords and private keys associated with crypto exchanges and wallet providers. A car worth 50,000 lev (about $29,000) bought with the illegally acquired crypto funds was also seized.
Despite the anonymity promised by the use of cryptocurrency, governments and security officials are now developing more sophisticated ways of tracking cryptocurrency movements and while tying them to individual identities, principally through making it mandatory exchanges to carry out comprehensive AML and KYC checks as part of their standard user onboarding process. The IRS alone has signed nine contracts worth about $2.2 million with cryptocurrency forensics providers as it seeks to expand its monitoring and investigative capacity.