A couple suspected of carrying out financial scams with cryptocurrencies were temporarily arrested last week in Greater Manchester, a region located in the northwest of England. Along with them, the officers found an encrypted flash drive containing $22 million in Ethereum. The device was seized.
The cryptocurrencies, according to a statement released by the police, belong to victims from the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, China, Australia and Hong Kong who were deceived by the two – a 23-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman.
To attract investors, the couple created a fake online savings and trading service through the Binance Binance Smart Chain (BSC), a decentralized exchange created by Binance Global that allows smart contracts between users.
As the authorities described, many of them invested the “money of a lifetime”, believing the funds would be safe and accumulating income.
“The scammers waited until a significant amount of money had been deposited, before closing their website and transferring the funds to their own accounts,” says the note. “Millions of pounds invested in fake savings are waiting to be claimed by rightful owners across the world.”
According to the police, the amount kidnapped represents 90% of what was stolen by the couple. Part of the funds was also in an online account. They are suspected of fraud and money laundering crimes. The couple was temporarily arrested, but soon afterwards released to respond in freedom.
Cryptocurrency scams in England
Joe Harrop, chief of police, said the unit increasingly received reports of this type of crime, citing scams with Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrencies as the most common. For him, these are opportunistic criminals looking to exploit these trends, as well as any gaps in technology that can be manipulated.
“This last case shows the huge sums we’re dealing with and the reach these organized companies can now achieve — an entire world is potentially vulnerable to this kind of exploitation,” said Harrop, urging people to take every possible precaution.
Sgt. Pete Nuttall recommended that people do their research well before making any investments: “These types of financial and trading businesses can be incredibly technical and need in-depth knowledge to stay safe. Still, there’s no guarantee — if you don’t understand, don’t take chances.”