An American bitcoin trader has been arrested in the Philippines for allegedly killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in a river.

Well-known bitcoin trader and Californian native Troy Woody Jr. was arrested together with Brooklyn native Mir Islam over the murder of Tomi Michelle Masters, according to the Daily Mail. The two are accused of suffocating Tomi, who hailed from Indiana, with a plastic bag before stuffing her body in a box and dumping it in Manila’s Pasig River.

Tragic End of Vacation

bitcoin trader philippines

CCTV footage that has been released shows the two men loading a huge box into the back of a ride operated by Asian taxi-hailing service and Uber-competitor Grab. While the two have confessed to dumping the body in the river, they both accuse the other of the murder, per the head superintendent of Mandaluyong City Police Custodial Facility, Igmedio Bernaldez:

We have yet to establish the motive. The three were here on vacation. If you ask the boyfriend, he will point to his friend as the killer. But if you ask the other suspect, he will say it was his friend who killed her. They are being questioned and the home they were staying at is being searched for evidence.

The suspicious behavior of the two was reported to the police by the cab driver. When the police searched the river, they found Tomi’s body which was wound in duct tape and covered in scratches. A post-mortem indicated that she died of suffocation, according to police. Troy and Tomi had been sharing an apartment in Manila after they moved to the Philippines from California.

According to friends, Tomi and Troy had a falling out earlier this month, and this emanated from Tomi’s desire to return to Indiana where she originally was from. Per Tomi’s father, Shawn Masters, Islam was of the view that if Tomi left for Indiana, Troy would follow her and consequently disrupt their ventures:

Islam needed TJ — he was the brains behind whatever it was they were doing.

‘Early Crypto Investor’

After their arrest, the two men indicated that they were both chief executive officers of Delaware-registered cryptocurrency trading firm known as Luxr LLC. On Twitter where he has more than 17,000 followers, Troy’s profile simply reads “Early Crypto Investor.” Troy’s following on Instagram is many times larger at 250,000, and in both accounts, he has documented a taste for luxuries including Swiss watches, Christian Louboutin shoes, and Dom Perignon champagne.

One of the cryptocurrency trades that Troy celebrated last year was buying Litecoin at US$50 and selling it at US$80 managing to turn a profit of US$24,000 in 11 days.

Besides trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Troy is also believed to be a core member of online mischief-making group UGNazi alongside Islam. Two years ago Islam received a 12-month prison sentence for crimes that included swatting (calling police with false information in order for SWAT teams to raid homes of particular targets), cyber-stalking, and exposing the privileged personal data of his victims online.

This post is credited to ccn

A Taiwanese man suspected of stealing electricity worth over $3 million to mine Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) has been arrested, according to a report from local news channel EBC Dongsen News Dec. 26.

The suspect, whose surname has been given as Yang, has been accused of allegedly stealing the electricity to successfully mine cryptocurrencies worth over 100 million yuan (around $14.5 million). Yang is purported to have used a minimum of 17 various business premises to open toy shops or internet cafes there as a facade for his alleged crypto mining activities.

The report claims Yang hired electricians to rewire the premises in such a way as to evade electricity metering and detection of the stolen power. State-owned utility provider the Taiwan Power Company is reported to have first noticed irregularities in the power supply, prompting a police investigation. In addition to Yang, a suspected accomplice has also been reportedly identified.

Wang Zhicheng, deputy head of the fourth brigade of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, is quoted by EBC Dongsen News as saying that:

“The [suspects] recruited electricians who managed to break into the sealed meters in order to add in private lines to use electricity for free before that usage reaches the meters.”

Suspected power theft to fuel crypto mining operations is not unprecedented; this October, a man in China’s northern Shanxi province  was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for allegedly stealing power from a train station to fuel his Bitcoin mining operations.

Also in China — this time in the country’s Anhui province — a separate suspect was arrested for attempting to steal electricity to fund his reportedly “unprofitable” mining operations.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

On Sunday, major mainstream media outlets reported that a crypto millionaire sprayed more than $12 million worth of cash in one of Hong Kong’s poorer neighborhoods.

Speaking to CCN, Leonhard Weese, the president of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, confirmed that Wong Ching Kit, a 24-year-old man who was arrested almost immediately after causing a frenzy in a busy Hong Kong city, is not a Bitcoin millionaire and that the individual built wealth by operating a well-known ponzi scheme in the region.

“He’s not a Bitcoin Millionaire. He is running a pyramid-like scheme well known in the community. Disappointed this is getting so much uncritical attention,” Weese said.

See the video of the cash giveaway on Facebook.


Bad Look For Bitcoin and Crypto

According to past reports from local publications, Wong has been allegedly operating a large pyramid scheme guaranteeing a return of more than four-fold of initial return. He was also arrested and proven guilty of stealing mobile phones in 2012, when he was working as a swimming instructor at Kowloon Park in Hong Kong.

In 2017, local publications linked Wong to the so-called “London gold trading scams” that encouraged female brokers to intentionally approach individuals to invest a chunk of capital in gold and ran away with the capital.

In July of last year, Hong Kong’s Commercial Crime Bureau chief inspector Marina Yin Hiu-yu said:

“The girls claimed to be successful investment consultants. They also displayed a posh lifestyle on social media by showing off deluxe cars and watches. Some victims hadn’t even met the so-called financial stars before they agreed to open accounts, signed documents to authorise brokers to trade on their behalf and passed the account password to the girls.”

At the time, many investors suspected Wong to be involved in the London gold trading scams among other pyramid schemes in the area.

Recently, Wong has been promoting a cryptocurrency mining computer that costs more than $3,000, a price that is substantially higher than all of the products in the global mining sector.

South China Morning Post reported:

“The young man has given media interviews under various monikers, promoting investment products, including a HK$27,500 computer he claimed could be used for cryptocurrency mining. Company search reports showed Wong owns a company called Coin’s Group. The firm was initially called Oscar Holding Group in 2017 but the name was changed on July 3 this year.”

However, most of the funds Wong has obtained over the years are suspected to have come from various scams he allegedly participated in.

Not Related to Bitcoin in Any Way

Based on previous scandals involving Wong that have been extensively covered by local publications throughout the past five years, it is evident that the funds he distributed on December 16, which some reports claimed were worth around $300,000, not $12 million, were not generated by his investments in Bitcoin nor his business in the cryptocurrency sector.

As Leonhard Weese said:

“Hong Kong media has covered his scams much more in-depth in the past. Why suddenly the goldfish memory?”

This post is credited to ccn

CCN recently reported on the case of CoinFlux CEO Vlad Nistor. The Romanian bitcoin exchange executive has been arrested on suspicion of money laundering and other crimes and is currently fighting extradition to the United States.

Earlier this week, CoinFlux posted to Medium.com to inform followers that they are unable to access parts of their platform including those which would allow them to deliver information in the usual way.

“Another unpleasant consequence of the investigation is the fact that our access to some parts of our platform has been restricted, thus we are unable to send this announcement through the usual communication channels: e-mail and website. Our expectation is that we will gain control back, within the next days.”

They said at the time that they were working to regain access to exchange funds so they could determine what the next course of action would be. Currently, they remain legally disallowed from doing any sort of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Exchange Returning All Funds, Might be Shutting Down

bitcoin exchange conflux vlad nistor arrest romania
CoinFlux, a cryptocurrency exchange based out of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, has halted activities following reports that its CEO, Vlad Nistor, was arrested in connection with a money laundering investigation.

Saturday, the exchange posted another update. In this update ,they said that they are working with the financial institution who manages all of their bank accounts, MisterTango, to have all funds returned to clients.

The wording of the update is unclear, in that it says:

“We’ve sent MisterTango (the Financial Institution hosting our frozen bank account) a list of people who have money blocked in CoinFlux wallets, as well as the exact associated balances, and the instruction to transfer those funds back into the clients’ bank account.”

As any reader knows, crypto balances are not held by banks.

Thus, the post does not seem to address crypto funds held in the exchange’s wallets, but fiat. They have not yet issued an announcement about how and when they intend to return client crypto balances. As we said, in the Thursday post they mentioned that they were unable to use their platform for legal reasons.

The case against Vlad Nistor centers on activities of Romanian scammers in 2014 and 2015. He is alleged to have actively helped scammers via Telegram in disposing of their ill-begotten gains. This would involve the conversion of knowingly stolen funds for cryptocurrencies. The crypto gains from then to now would be substantial, 2015 being a downturn year for Bitcoin.

The number of affected individuals in this situation is likely low, as the volume is so minor that places like CoinMarketCap.com, which lists hundreds of small exchanges, does not even report CoinFlux volume.

This post is credited to ccn

A Bitcoin trader in South Africa was kidnapped and tortured in order for criminals to steal his cryptocurrency.


Bitcoin and its brethren exist in the digital world, but the real world can hold dangerous and terrifying consequences for those involved in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Criminals have proven themselves quite willing to rob, assault, and even potentially kill those who possess virtual currencies. The latest case involves a Bitcoin trader in South Africa who found himself kidnapped and tortured.

Horrible Doings in South Africa

It’s been reported that a Bitcoin trader, known only as Andrew in local media, met a man on Facebook that was interested in cryptocurrencies. Andrew was invited to a residence in Ntuli Street in Meadowlands Zone Five to give a presentation on cryptocurrency.

Andrew showed up at the residence at 1 pm to give his presentation. There, he was met by a group of four men and two women. When he entered the home, someone came up behind him and stuck a cloth over his face. This cloth was apparently soaked with some kind of drug as he was rendered unconscious.

Bitcoin wallet

When he woke up, he found himself in a different residence and surrounded by three men and two women. The group demanded his bank account information and his password to his Bitcoin wallet. He was stripped of his clothes, was assaulted, and tortured with a hot iron. Eventually, he gave up the information.

The criminals stole about R 800,000 ($57,873 USD) from his Bitcoin wallet. They also stole R 100,000 ($7,234) from his bank account, as well as the R 3,000 ($217) he was carrying on his person. The criminals also stole two laptops and two iPhones. Luckily for Andrew, the criminals blindfolded him and dropped him off on a distant road. He is currently recovering in the hospital ICU. Police are looking for the culprits.

Crypto Violence on the Rise

Andrew is lucky to be alive. Criminals are quite willing to use violence to gain access to cryptocurrencies. Back in March, two women performed a home invasion in Connecticut to steal bitcoins from the homeowner. The pair were armed with a cattle prod and pistol, which was used to whip one of the home’s occupants.

In Taiwan, a man, looking to sell his bitcoins, and his friend were set upon by a gang of four men. The two men were beaten up and the seller was forced to transfer over $170,000 in bitcoins. In New York City, a group of “friends” poured hot wax on a man and held his head underwater in order to get his crypto wallet information.

Criminals are quite happy to use force to gain cryptocurrency.

Another violent attack took place in the United Kingdom back in January. A Bitcoin trader had a gang of armed criminals burst into his home in the late morning. He and his wife were held at gunpoint while their baby was put outside on the porch. Once the trader transferred his cryptocurrency over to the thugs, they left.

As you can see, it can get quite dangerous when meeting someone face-to-face in the crypto world. It behooves one to always meet in public places and to have some people with you at all times. It’s always wise to take precautions as many criminals are willing to go to some very lengthy, and sordid, steps to get their hands on your cryptocurrency.

Have you ever been worried when doing a physical trade? Let us know in the comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Well, that escalated slowly.

The CEO of “AriseBank,” who CCN previously reported as the target of an SEC injunction and civil proceedings in January, was arrested by the FBI this week without incident on charges of fraud to the tune of around $4 million, according to a press release from the Department of Justice. The arrest comes on the heels of a California US District judge giving some resistance to an SEC request for an injunction against another ICO against which it has a civil suit.

The actions of 30-year-old Jared Rice Sr. are particularly egregious in contrast to those of Reginald Buddy Ringgold III, in that he is alleged to have actually gone on a spending spree even while his unregistered and unregulated security offering was in progress. As DOJ tells it:

“Even as he touted AriseBank’s nonexistent benefits in press releases and online, Mr. Rice quietly converted investor funds for his own personal use, spending the money on hotels, food, clothing, a family law attorney, and even a guardian ad litem.”

A History of Scamming and Domestic Violence

According to public records and the Grand Jury indictment, Jared Rice was previously charged with tampering with government records in Texas for forging the Secretary of State’s seal and signature on incorporation documents. In the same case, which dates back to 2015 and was related to another attempted internet venture, Rice was charged with stealing – in that case, investor funds. This would have been something an ICO reviewer might have come across with any degree of research.

To add a bit of TMZ-style flair to his case, Rice decided to use some of the proceeds of the AriseBank scam to fund his family attorney and a guardian ad litem, which are items related to his apparent domestic problems. In the photo to the right, he is under arrest and held on $15,000 bond for assault on a family member. The domestic violence arrest appears to have been after the charge of defrauding the previous investor, who is not named in the Grand Jury indictment document nor is immediately apparent in other methods of inquiry.

It seems that in all his spending, he did not think to pay to scrub his arrest records, not even with the prospect of millions of dollars more.

The case brings to mind the much more successful scamming of crypto mining executive Josh Garza, who was eventually sentenced to federal prison.

Here is the full indictment:

Jared Rice Indictment by on Scribd

This post is credited to ccn

An Indian cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme masquerading as an investment company has crumbled in the aftermath of the Reserve Bank of India’s declaration of cryptocurrency as “illegal tender”.

The Deccan Chronicle reported this week that Ambidant Marketing and Investment Company, run by father and son duo Syed Fareed and Syed Afaq Ahmed, used promises of Halal investments alongside misused Ulemas (Islamic theology scholars) to position itself as a Sharia-compliant investment program for Muslim investors, bringing in huge amounts of investor money without declaring its crypto investment positions.

Deceitful Investment Practices

According to reports, the company used the cover of Halal businesses and investments to attract Muslim investors who were then promised fantastic monthly returns of as much as 50 percent per lakh Rupees (approximately $275). Specifically targeting Muslim investment, the company also allegedly used Ulemas to market its activities as Halal. Without informing investors, the company would then invest the takings in cryptocurrencies where it made a fortune, enabling it to pay the promised returns for a while until the scheme grew bigger. Its crypto investment positions and exposure were never revealed to investors through this time.

As more investors joined the ponzi scheme, payout sizes declined first to 25 percent, and then to 11 percent before finally paying out 9 percent in January 2018, which was its last payout. Before it stopped paying out, some investors had earned up to double their initial investment amounts, which ranged from Rs 50,000 (about $685) to over Rs 1 crore (roughly $137,165).

Following the RBI’s declaration of bitcoin as “illegal tender”, India’s Enforcement Directorate which oversees financial law enforcement turned its attention to Ambidant’s activities. It was one of over 4,000 companies placed under similar investigation, but unlike the majority of the others, its investors had no idea about its cryptocurrency investment exposure.

Speaking about its case findings in a statement released earlier, India’s Enforcement Directorate said:

“During the investigation, it came to the fore that the scheme run by the company is surely a potential Ponzi scheme. In view of the above, ED has written to the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) to have another look into the matter and protect the interest of the investors/depositors at large who are being duped in the name of Islamic banking/halal investment.”

In addition to deceiving investors and running a Ponzi scheme, the activities of Ambidant may well have been at odds with Sharia law itself. A number of Islamic scholars are of the opinion that cryptocurrency trading is not a Halal practice because cryptocurrencies lack intrinsic value or centralized government support, both of which they say are required in order to be considered a currency under Sharia law.

However, there is no consensus of Islamic opinion on this point. In April, CCN reported that Mufti Muhammad Abu Bakar, a Sharia adviser and compliance officer at Blossom Finance in Jakarta published a paper classifying Bitcoin as Halal, a pronouncement which led to a $1,000 price jump.

This post is credited to ccn

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of the Gemini Exchange in New York are suing early bitcoin investor Charlie Shrem for allegedly stealing roughly 5,000 BTC.


Wealth Attracts Unwanted Attention

Shrem left prison in 2016 after a year-long sentence for allegedly helping people illegally purchase drugs online. Since his release, Shrem has reportedly purchased two Maserati vehicles, two power boats, and a $2 million home in Florida, along with other smaller real estate properties. However, Shrem claims that he went to prison with virtually no money in his pocket, which has aroused questions regarding where the funds came from.

The Winklevoss twins suspect that Shrem has been spending bitcoins that he owed them over the past six years, which at press time, would amount to a total of almost $32 million. Unsealed court documents detailing the current lawsuit state:

Either Shrem has been incredibly lucky and successful since leaving prison, or – more likely – he ‘acquired’ his six properties, two Maseratis, two powerboats and other holdings with the appreciated value of the 5,000 bitcoins he stole.

You Got Nothing!

Shrem’s lawyer, Brian Klein, believes that the statements made by the Winklevoss twins are “baseless.” He recently explained:

The lawsuit erroneously alleges that about six years ago, Charlie essentially misappropriated thousands of bitcoins. Nothing could be further from the truth. Charlie plans to vigorously defend himself and quickly clear his name.

 

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of the Gemini Exchange in New York are suing early bitcoin investor Charlie Shrem for allegedly stealing roughly 5,000 BTC.

Trouble on the Horizon

The lawsuit is already leading to several problems for the man commonly referred to as “Bitcoin’s first felon.” According to court documents, the judge who oversaw Shrem’s original trial four years ago has already agreed to freeze some of his financial assets.

Furthermore, an affidavit filed in court states that Shrem has not yet paid the nearly $1 million in restitution he owes the government as part of his 2014 guilty plea.

Where’s This Money Coming From?

Cameron says he and his brother first began looking for the missing bitcoins after they noticed Shrem’s extravagant spending. They ultimately hired an investigator, who claimed that roughly 5,000 BTC were transferred in 2013 to different addresses owned by Shrem on both Xapo and Coinbase.

Cameron explains:

When he purchased $4 million in real estate, two Maseratis and two powerboats, we decided it was time to get to the bottom of it.

Since his release two years ago, Shrem has been involved in several troubled cryptocurrency projects, including a crypto-based credit card and an initial coin offering (ICO). In both instances, Shrem and his fellow leaders were forced to offer refunds to investors after several partnerships that had been promised did not come through.

Whose side are you on? The Winklevoss twins’ or Charlie Shrem’s? Post your comments below!

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Two women have been arrested in connection with a March home invasion in Killingly, CT, where victims were not only robbed but also allegedly pistol-whipped and attacked with an electric cattle prod. The incident, police said, was the tragic culmination of a dispute involving a bitcoin account.

Incident Details

Apparently, the home invasion occurred because a female victim opened a bitcoin account for one of the alleged home invasion suspects, Monique Delannoy-Jodoin, 59, who police said is a resident of Manville, RI. Police also stated that Ms. Delannoy-Jodoin was already under investigation for narcotic sales and delivery through the postal system. The other suspect was Beatriz Viruet, 38, who is a resident of Providence, RI.

The female renter claimed to recognize two of the home invaders, who then pistol-whipped one occupant on the head, and utilized an electric cattle prod on another occupant. The female renter was able to escape to a neighbor’s house, but not one of the suspects was able to force entry into the bathroom, where the renter was hiding, using a hammer.

The suspects stole money, cell phones, and a television, according to local authorities. Allegedly, one of the suspects, told the other to “shoot the victims,” as well.

Crypto Crime

Many have criticized the fact that cryptocurrency can be used for money laundering, considering that it can often be harder to trace than fiat currency. The sector is often accused of fraud, and there are even international task forces organized to target ICOs worldwide.

This is a still-rare-but-increasingly-more-common instance where there is a violent crime associated with cryptocurrency. Indeed, it is not the only violent incident that has happened in relation to bitcoin. Earlier this year, there was a shooting in downtown Miami in connection with a bitcoin deal gone awry.

According to police, Monique Delannoy-Jodoin wanted money and passwords related to her bitcoin account. She was ultimately charged with home invasion, risk of injury to a child, third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree assault with a weapon, second-degree breach of peace, criminal use of a weapon, and sixth-degree larceny, among other charges. Beatriz Viruet was charged with home invasion, first-degree robbery, and second-degree breach of peace.

Delannoy-Jodoin was held on a $250,000 bond, while Viruet was held on a $100,000 bond. The women are both are due to appear Monday in Danielson Superior Court.

This post is credited to ccn

The crypto scammers are targeting more and more respected personalities every day. After a majority of technology companies and their bosses added “Not giving away” to their Twitter profiles to protect themselves from Twitter scam bots, the scammers have now started targeting politicians and Heads of States. Recently they targeted the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, after which PM Lee Hsien Loong himself explained on Twitter that he and his Deputy Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam were being targeted by scammers and they don’t solicit any Bitcoin investments. You can see his tweet below:

His quick tweet to highlight the fake news was well received by at least one prominent personality in crypto space. Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the CEO of Binance, said about his tweet:

“Prime Minister of Singapore goes on twitter himself to fight scammers in our nascent space.  Respect! and he talks about fighting fake news. Awesome!”

Crypto scammers have become an unsolvable menace for all social media companies and popular personalities. Twitter tried a number of different things to stop it, from mass banning of accounts to mandatory phone number verification when someone changes names, but till now the tweets of these scammers can be spotted easily on the platform. Same applies to websites as well – fake news related to crypto giveaways is nowadays present on popular sites too. If you see PM Loong’s tweet carefully you can see how a fake news soliciting Bitcoin was published by The Mirror.

So, if you see any crypto giveaway contests on Twitter, dig deep about the legitimacy of the offer before taking it seriously. Dig as much as possible. Because these are precisely the kind of scams that target people playing with crypto.

This post is credited to crypto-news