Hackers and scammers have tormented the crypto industry ever since its inception. Millions of dollars worth of crypto funds are lost every year to bad actors. In a similar fashion, an Australian woman is now facing more than two years in prison for stealing $400,000 in XRP.
According to a report from media outlet Information Age, Kathryn Nguyen has been sentenced to a maximum of 2 years and 3 months in prison for stealing 100,000 XRP back in January 2018.
Per the report, the XRP stolen at that time was worth more than $400,000 as the cryptocurrency was near its all-time high at $3.84 back then.
However, the value of XRP is almost one-tenth of what it was back then as the price dropped to $0.30 as of press time, making the amount of crypto stolen now worth approximately $30,000.
In January 2018, Nguyen along with an accomplice hacked into the email of a 56-year-old man gained access to his cryptocurrency account and swapped the two-factor authentication to her own cellular device before handing over control to the account two days later.
The hacker then went on to transfer the crypto funds, which was 100,000 XRP, to a crypto exchange located in China, and traded the funds for Bitcoin and distributed the funds amongst multiple wallets in efforts to launder those funds.
According to local news outlet 7News Sydney, authorities in China were only able to recover roughly $9,000.
Nguyen was first charged in October 2018, after the police reportedly investigated the case for 10 months before being able to locate and arrest her. She pled guilty to charges in August of 2019.
Chris Craigie, the judge presiding over Nguyen’s case, stated it was a “difficult and troubling decision” to send her to prison. Nguyen will reportedly be eligible for parole in October 2021.
The case was one of the very first in Australia where someone was charged with the theft of crypto assets. Cybercrime Squad Commander Arthur Katsogiannis had said back then:
“It’s a very significant crime and it’s the first we know of its type in Australia where an individual has been arrested and charged for the technology-enabled theft of cryptocurrency.”
Crypto Crimes on the rise
Even though this might have been one of the first cases, it sure wasn’t the last. Over the last few years, several crimes involving cryptocurrencies have been reported.
Earlier this year, an Australian woman was arrested by the Sydney police for illegally operating an unregistered exchange that has been acting as a money-laundering syndicate since 2017.
Local authorities stated that they have been actively investigating this case since 2018, and they claim that the syndicate has been in operation since 2017. The woman is believed to have laundered AU$5 million ($3.23 million) worth of Bitcoin to date.
Detective Superintendent Matt Craft, Cybercrime Squad commander said that time:
“This is the first arrest executed by Cybercrime Squad detectives relating to non-compliant digital currency providers in New South Wales — and is believed to be the first of its kind across Australia.”