According to research by CipherTrace, hackers, thieves, and fraudsters had already stolen $1.4 billion worth of cryptocurrency in the first half of 2020.
In this case, Syed Mokhtar Syed Yusope is accused of participating in a fake bitcoin deal that cost the victim $360,000. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty in a Singaporean district court to theft charges according to a report from local outlet The Straits Times.
Mokhtar, a native Singaporean, is accused of working with two accomplices, Jaromel Gee Ming Li and Mohd Abdul Rahman Mohamad, to rob Malaysian national Pang Joon Hau.
Posing as representatives of a Bitcoin broker, the trio conned Mr. Pang into believing that they would sell him Bitcoin for cash. It’s unclear why the victim opted to enlist the accused thieves’ services instead of going through established bitcoin exchanges.
In the end, Mokhtar and his co-conspirators are said to have assaulted the victim, making off with his backpack that was filled with $365,000, and leaving Pang without any of the promised Bitcoin.
Mokhtar was arrested by police the day after the incident and was found to still be holding $5,000 of the stolen money. Court documents did not say whether the authorities managed to recover the remaining cash from the trio. Mokhtar is now out on bail of $30,000 and will be sentenced on Friday.
According to the initial report, he could face up to 14 years in jail. The cases involving the other two Singaporeans are still pending.