Detectives in the UK allegedly seized a pen drive with around R$50 million in Ethereum (ETH) that was believed to have been stolen through an alleged fraudulent scheme.
In a statement, the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said its expert officers at the Economic Crime Unit had retrieved the flash drive after tracking down two alleged operators of a fake savings and trading service.
The scheme allegedly targeted victims in the UK, US, Europe, China, Australia and Hong Kong who deposited their money and life savings into the alleged fake service using the Binance Smart Chain smart contract platform.
The operators allegedly closed their site after receiving significant amounts of money from victims and then transferred the funds to their accounts.
Intelligence reports led to the arrest of the alleged perpetrators, who have already been released under investigation.
Police seized an amount of $22.25 million after discovering several USB devices. A few days later, police found an additional $12.7 million after locating a “crypto vault” and the code to access it, according to the GMP.
90% of funds have been recovered
According to the GMP, they are now working to return stolen funds to victims of the cryptocurrency scam. Some of the victims, however, are still unknown.
Detective Chief Inspector Joe Harrop of the GMP’s Economic Crimes Unit commented on the need for police to adapt to new crypto-based crimes.
“Coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum are often seen as the future when it comes to money and trading. With that comes a new type of crime, and we’re seeing an increase in opportunistic criminals looking to exploit these trends, as well as any gaps in technology that can be manipulated.
It is vital that we as a force adapt to what is an emerging type of crime and demonstrate that there will be repercussions regardless of the platform on which this fraudulent activity takes place.”