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Bitcoin Scams

Cryptocurrency Miner Steals $5M Worth Of Computing Power

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The cryptocurrency news today show that scams are getting more and more frequent in the industry. In the latest news, a millionaire game developer named Marc Merrill was the latest victim of the Singaporean cryptocurrency miner who stole identities in order to use the Amazon Web Services and Google cloud computing power for crypto mining.

In an unsealed court filing on November 7, we could see that Forbes published that Marc Merrill is the co-founder of Riot Games who was the previous anonymous victim of the Singaporean national Matthew Ho’s identity theft scheme. Meanwhile, Riot Games is most famous as a developer which stands behind the massively successful League of Legends game.

Ho used Merrill’s American Express credit card information and went on to buy cloud computing power from Amazon, Google and others. In October, Ho was indicted by the United States prosecutors who said that the total worth of computing services used by Ho was estimated to more than $5 million. The prosecutors also alleged that the cryptocurrency miner became the largest AWS data consumer and said:

“In the few months his scheme remained active, Ho consumed more than $5 million in unpaid cloud computing services with his mining operation and, for a brief period, was one of Amazon Web Services (AWS) largest consumers of data usage by volume. Some of the bills were paid by the California game developer’s financial staff before the fraud was detected.”

The investigators claim that Ho was able to use the social engineering knowledge in order to gain access to admin privileges and large amounts of cloud computing power on Amazon and Google servers – mining various cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

Ho also managed to trick Amazon into believing that he was the president of Riot Games – and created a fake Californian driving license that carried the Riot Games and the co-chairman’s name. Even though the Department of Justice charged Ho in early October, the identity of this developer became public only now.

The cryptocurrency miner who stole the mining power is now charged with eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of access device fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

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Bitcoin Scams

Co-Creator Of League Of Legends Lost $5 Million In Crypto Scam

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Co-creator of league of legends and co-founder of Riot Games reportedly lost about $5 million in a major cryptocurrency scam. The Singaporean national Matthew Ho allegedly used Marc Merill’s credit card information to purchase Amazon cloud computing technology so let’s find out more in the crypto news today.It turns out that a fraudster used Merill’s credentials to purchase Amazon computing serves and it took about four years for the fraud to be discovered. Beginning in November 2014, Ho used the credit card information from the co-creator of League of legends and purchased cloud computing technology from Google, Amazon and other providers. More than $5 million was spent on Amazon’s cloud computing technology but the court didn’t say if the whole bill was paid. This cloud computing technology was then used to mine cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. The cryptocurrencies were later sold on localbitcoins.net but it is still unclear how much money Ho made by operating the scam.As it was recently discovered unsealed indictment in the United States, shows more information about how the Singaporean national was able to get away with this crypto scam until January 2018. H o used Merill’s real home address and a fake Californian driver’s license and a Gmail email address that looked similar to the one Merill had in order to prove to Amazon that he was the real Merill.Riot games are known to use the Amazon cloud computing technology and Merill was a customer for a long time since his American Express credit card had been used to purchase these services before. This allowed Ho to access the substantially high levels of cloud computing services according to the investigators.Merill was not the only person to be targeted in the crypto scam. Two other people from Texas and the United States and India are also alleged to have been defrauded by the same man. It is unclear how the scammer knew Merill’s address and Credit card information but Ho remains under arrest in Singapore and he is being investigated for a number of charges. These kinds of scams were extremely popular in 2018 and it seems like they are still preferred with the crypto scammers.
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Bitcoin Scams

California Bitcoin Bandit Is Facing 10 Years For Crypto Armed Robbery

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California Bitcoin Bandit, or more specifically a woman from East Hollywood in California, has been convicted of robbery relating to the peer-to-peer bitcoin trades. Lanay Fitzgerald was one of the two people involved in incidents that earned them the moniker ‘discount bitcoin bandits’ as we previously reported in the Bitcoin news.The 29-year old could face a prison sentence up to 10 years for the crypto robbery and getting the maximum possible sentence is mainly because she used a firearm when carrying out the robberies.  The one California Bitcoin Bandit negotiated an agreement and submitted a plea of no contest to the charges relating to five 2017-2018 robberies. According to reports, Fitzgerald and her accomplice the 23-year old Lawillie Joshua Hall arranged to meet prospective Bitcoin buyers at the height of the 2017 bull market.Both of them robbed the victims and sometimes even used a gun and never handed over any Bitcoin. Hall also entered a plea of no contest at an earlier hearing in April for his role in the two robberies. The District Attorney’s office spokesman Paul Eakins commented:
 “From October 2017 through February 2018, Fitzgerald stole money from five people by using online notices and communications advertising the sale of discount bitcoins, according to court testimony.. She met the victims in person and forcefully took the cash they had brought to purchase the cryptocurrency.”
Although they were originally charged with numerous other offenses, the court allowed them both to enter a plea of no contest against a single count of second-degree robbery and then dropped two additional charges against the California Bitcoin Bandit Fitzgerald on two counts of grand theft as well as three counts of child abuse which relates to the time she brought a child along during some of the robberies.Hall is expected to receive up to four years for his involvement and Fitzgerald could earn up to 10 years in prison. Both sentences have been increased since the defendants also pleaded no contest to using a firearm during the robberies. As the situation proposes, Hall will be sentenced on December 17 and will receive four years and a fine of $30,000 in restitution while Fitzgerald will have to serve 10 years in prison and $85,000 in restitution payments.
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Bitcoin Scams

Malaysian Authorities Arrest Five Bitcoin Mining Robbers

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The latest Bitcoin scams news feature an arrest from the Malaysian authorities who have jailed five Bitcoin bandits who robbed 85 Bitcoin mining units earlier this year. The machines were taken from a shop in the town of Seremban on October 29.The latest update shows that the units were valued at around $10,000 and the people behind the robbery are thought to also have stolen the machines with a main idea for them to be deployed by themselves.As a report featured in the local news publication Bernama shows, police have arrested the five Bitcoin  scammers suspected of staging a Bitcoin mining hardware robbery. The people arrested included four men and a woman who was aged between 25 and 46 years. Two of the individuals are from Indonesia, the reports show.What's interesting is that none of the five Bitcoin bandits have had any previous criminal convictions, the Malaysian authorities said. The superintendent of the Seremban police force, Mohd Said, confirmed that the authorities made the arrests in separate raids between the hours of midnight and 4:30 at local time. Along with the arrests, the police also seized two vehicles of drilling equipment believed to have been used during the robbery.The bandits arrested are believed to have rented premises next to a shop in which the BTC mining equipment was being used. They drilled through the wall to gain access and make off with the computing hardware inside.
“The purpose of the rent was to monitor the movement of the machines, and their motive for stealing was believed to handle the machines themselves,” the chief of the Malaysian authorities showed.
This is not the first time that we reported about a Bitcoin scam involving miners. In 2018, the Icelandic authorities arrested 11 individuals in connection with the 600 missing Bitcoin mining rigs. According to the local police, the organized robbery was the largest ever in the history of the nation.Currently, mining rigs are seen as much easier targets for the average criminal when compared to cryptocurrencies themselves. The hack of exchanges or individual's wallets requires a considerable technological expertise. Mining rigs are also a worthy target since there is no need to resell them so that criminals can profit from the theft. Instead, they could be used to mine BTC (or other cryptocurrencies) without anyone knowing.
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Bitcoin Scams

Belgium Blacklists 9 Crypto Websites Suspected Of Fraud

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The official regulator in Belgium, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has recently made an additional update to its blacklisting of crypto-related websites that are associated with fraud. The fact that Belgium blacklists another nine websites related to Bitcoin scams gives a new push to the regulation and detects new indications of fraud.As the Bitcoin scams news show, adding the nine new suspect sites brings the entire list of total crypto scams in the country to 131. Now that Belgium blacklists 9 more crypto websites associated with scams, the financial authority said that it continued to receive new complaints from consumers who already made crypto investments on those trading platforms. They also added that cryptocurrency fraud continues to find new victims in Belgium despite all of the previous warnings.The FSMA, which is the official regulator for matters like these in Belgium, said that investors in the country should be wary of companies that claim to hold authorizations from supervisory authorities. They added:
“This is a very frequently used technique. However, these are often cases of identity theft. Feel free to ask the FSMA to confirm the information you have received.”
A lot of the blacklisted crypto firms were investigated - where regulators found that they purportedly offer financial services without having any compliance with the Belgian financial legislation. Still, most of these firms mentioned in the list operate outside the jurisdiction of the FSMA which makes it almost impossible for the agency to legally charge them.Even though the FSMA cannot charge these websites of fraud, an alert like this one could minimize the risks for potential crypto investors. The big picture shows that as Belgium delists more Bitcoin scam websites, the country is giving a push towards the white-hat approach in fighting crypto crime.The FSMA also went on to add that the blacklist is based only on the findings of the authority and warned that it does not include all of the cryptocurrency companies which might be operating illegally in the country.In June this year, news from the Belgian financial authority FPS Economy showed that a website has been launched in order to raise awareness of the risks linked to crypto investments.
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