More than 1,000 Bitcoins worth around $8.6 billion have been seized by the Israeli police in a case of money laundering fraud case against Hilmi Git, an alleged cybercriminal.
The cybercrime office of the state has indicted him in more than 20,000 fraud cases connected with credit cards using Bitcoin to launder money.
Git has been quoted as saying that cybercriminals are capable of taking money from anywhere, whether it’s from Israel or the U.S. or even money from the moon.
Bitcoins Seized by State Amid Fraud Investigation
The fraudulent exchanges were to the tune of $280,000 and Git had apparently made more than $8 million over the past 10 years.
The state was able to seize around 1,071 Bitcoins. If and when Git is convicted, these funds will be confiscated and reallocated.
According to the state indictment, Git had been involved in the fraudulent use of more than 800 credit cards from 2008.
He created some web forums, where people could access the cards and use the guidelines he provided to access remote computers and victims’ personal information.
Git has also been accused of running scams by selling mobile phones at cheap rates.
He would then block the customers and cut out all contact with them, and control their profile by sending messages in their name confirming the receipt of goods.
Upon getting the payment for the non-existing mobile phone, he would send false messages from the user’s profile and ask their contacts—family members, friends, etc.—to also use the service.
He used many websites and forums for money laundering schemes for a decade and also offered detailed guides explaining how to perform such scams.
The state of Israel is filing a case against Git in order to prevent him from continuing his fraudulent activities online.
According to the Israeli police and the indictment, the criminal activities go far beyond one single person. Prosecutors suspect there is a wide network of such credit card fraudsters facilitating the scheme. Reportedly, Git is the head of this criminal network.
Setting a Precedent
This is the first time the Israeli police have seized Bitcoin funds while trying to curb money laundering in the country.
The capture could set a precedent for confiscating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets.
This case is an important one for Israel and poses a reality check for the state. It is expected to inspire stricter government scrutiny over cryptocurrencies, and specifically, over Bitcoins, as these are now being used for money laundering purposes.
Other countries, like the U.S., have already seized over 500 Bitcoins from a criminal case earlier this year and auctioned the confiscated assets. Finland has also seized more than 2,000 Bitcoins from criminal investigations.