Fraudsters and scammers are constantly evolving and surfacing with new methods to illegally obtain crypto funds. Countless victims have lost their funds to these bad actors, but a recent report has revealed a major scam scheme where a U.K. woman duped banks and the government of $150,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC).
The UK Metropolitan Police Service (MPS or MET) has cracked down on a major scam where a 35-year old U.K. woman was arrested for illegally obtaining £115,000 (approximately $150,000) by applying for government loans dubbed “Bounce Back Loans,” designed to aid small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an announcement from MPS, the investigation on the unnamed woman began because she seemed to be in possession of a large amount of BTC which were “fraudulently obtained”.
The investigation revealed that the woman used multiple mule accounts to receive the loans, and then the funds were used to purchase cryptocurrency.
After a search warrant was issued, MPS officers, along with Suffolk Constabulary’s Proactive Crime Team, raided the suspect’s residence in Ipswich.
The officers found multiple children left on their own and arrested the suspect nearby on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, and child neglect.
The police interviewed the woman and released her on August 1, but soon applied to a London magistrates’ court on August 13th for the detention of £115,000 ($150,000) worth of Bitcoin held in a digital wallet that belonged to the suspect.
Detective Sergeant Ian Barrett, from the Met’s Proactive Money Laundering Team, commented:
“For people to take advantage of Government support available to those who really need it in these unprecedented times is appalling.”
“I would like to assure the public that the Met remains committed to working with institutions in the regulated financial sector and law enforcement partners to tackle organized financial crime and bring these serious criminals to justice,” he added.
This wasn’t the first crypto-related case for the U.K. police, last year the Cyber Crime Unit of the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police worked with crypto exchange Binance, to crack down on a Bulgarian phishing expert Svetoslav Donchev.
Donchev was accused of creating website scripts designed to replicate the real websites of up to 53 U.K.-based legitimate firms to help criminals steal 41.6 million British pounds ($51.3 million). The fraud potentially targeted 500,000 victims.