The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested three men suspected of stealing millions of dollars from victims in Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency used by criminals worldwide.FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Chabris said the three men are charged with one count of theft of $20 million or more.
According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in New York City, on July 16, 2016, a man named Jeffrey Geddes was approached by an anonymous user of the Darkcoin exchange and offered to pay $20M in Bitcoins for information on the whereabouts of a suspect in a cybercrime ring that had allegedly stolen from over 20 million victims.
The FBI is also investigating the Darkwallet theft as a cyber-criminal enterprise.
The FBI’s New York field office said the suspects are from Kansas, Minnesota, and Tennessee, but did not identify the three suspects by name.
“We believe this case highlights the importance of investigating online fraud and cybercrime in the United States,” Chabres said.
The criminal complaint against the three unnamed suspects is a joint investigation between the FBI and the New York State Police.
It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Monday.
The men were arrested July 18 and were released on their own recognizance, the complaint states.
“This is an extremely important development for law enforcement in New Zealand,” Chabanis said.
“As one of the world’s largest jurisdictions for digital crime, the FBI continues to work closely with the NZ Attorney General’s Cybercrime Unit to investigate cybercrime across the country.”
“We are working closely with New Zealand’s police to provide the information that they require, and are grateful for their cooperation,” he added.
The investigation began when Gedds contacted the anonymous anonymous user and asked for the information about the DarkWallet.
Gedd was then approached by another user who agreed to pay the Bitcoin ransom and promised to reveal the suspect’s location and phone number.
“Upon receiving this offer, the Dark Wallet user then attempted to pay Gedd for the Dark Coins, and requested payment in Bitcoin,” the complaint says.
Gedd was able to access the Darkwallets wallet, and the DarkCoin was sent to Gedd.
After receiving the Darkcoins, Gedd and his accomplice then contacted the victims.
The Darkcoin was then distributed via the Dark wallet, which was used to send a ransom payment to Gddes, the criminal complaint says, and was then sent to the victim via email.
Gddes was arrested in July of this year.
He has been charged with three counts of cyber theft, three counts each of conspiracy, identity theft, money laundering, wire fraud, money transmission, and money laundering conspiracy.
He is being held without bail and will appear in court on Aug. 6.