Bitcoin Fraudster gets a Suspended Sentence
Aaron Brown, 23, a Liverpool resident was handed 18 weeks suspended sentence by Judge Ian Conrad, QC of the Liverpool Crown Court. Brown was given the sentence after he successfully defrauded two London bitcoin investors. According to Prosecutor Derek Jones, Brown made attempts of Supplying something he did not have. Brown was finally arrested and charged after having managed to defraud the two investors with money amounting to £6,750 in less than one month.
According to the prosecution, Brown defrauded two bitcoin investors based in London. In the first instance, Brown contacted the first investor via WhatsApp on June 10, 2016, and on gaining his trust, Brown told the investor that he would sell him bitcoins worth £5,000. After agreeing on the terms of the trade the investor sent the money to Brown’s bank account expecting him to in turn send him the coins in return. Knowing that he did not have the bitcoins, Brown started giving excuses to the investor continuously for some weeks. On knowing that he had been conned the investor decided to report Brown to the police while Brown moved on to his next victim.
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On the 3rd of July last year, a London investor was connected to Brown by a friend and decided to travel to Liverpool to do business with him. Brown and the investor met in a café where they intended to do business. The investor handed over £1,750 and Brown gave it to a man who had accompanied him for the exchange. On receiving the cash, Brown started delaying and giving various reasons as to why he was delaying with transferring the coins. He finally claimed the café had a poor internet connection and asked the investor to follow him to his car so he could complete the transfer from there. On the way to his car, Brown just ran off and his victim stranded and confused knowing he had just been conned.
Brown was finally tracked down by the Merseyside police and told them that he had made attempts of transferring the bitcoins but had encountered some complications in the process. Not having a way of proving if Brown was lying or not the police contacted a bitcoin expert from the US government. The expert discovered that Brown had been lying to the police as he did not have the bitcoins he claimed he was selling. Brown was a result charged with two counts of fraud that he later pleaded guilty to.
In Brown’s defense, Attorney Trevor Parry-Jones (TPJ) told the court that Brown’s crimes were simple and that he surrendered himself to the police after learning that they were looking for him. TPJ also informed the Court that Brown’s partner was pregnant and he needed to be there for her. To round it all up, TPJ added that Brown had a mental problem even though he was not under any medication for the same at the moment.
Judge Conrad agreed that the offenses were not complicated and as such handed the 18 weeks sentence suspended for two years. Brown was also ordered to do 180 hours of community service.
Brown’s sentence came days after it was disclosed that Britons lost two million pounds to crypto fraudsters in the period between June and July 2018. The revelation was made by the ActionFraud project of the UK Police. According to ActionFraud, unlike Brown who used simple tactics to defraud his victims, the fraudsters involved in the theft of the two million pounds used fraudulent cryptocurrency mining and cryptocurrency schemes.
According to ActionFraud, the fraudsters used social media platforms to acquire their targets. They presented themselves as crypto entrepreneurs and blockchain developers. After successfully convincing their targets that they were legit, the fraudsters would then ask them to register with their sites after which they would be prompted to enter their credit card information from which the money they intend to invest would be deducted from. After acquiring enough money from as many possible targets, the fraudsters then took down the sites without any notice leaving their targets in total confusion. According to the police, there are a total of 203 reported cases losing an amount contributing to the total two million stolen.