British detectives have seized $22.25 million from operators of an international cryptocurrency scam. Among the items seized was a USB stick containing ethereum worth $9.5 million. The police are now attempting to contact the victims of this scam to return their funds.
UK Police Seize Crypto in USB Stick
The U.K.’s Greater Manchester Police announced Wednesday that its Economic Crime Unit has seized a USB stick containing “huge amounts of ethereum, the second largest crypto currency after bitcoin.”
The USB stick was discovered after the police arrested a 23-year-old male and a 25-year-old female for fraud and money laundering offenses. The pair have since been released under investigation.
The announcement details:
Specialist officers received intelligence that those running the scheme had been in Manchester for a limited time and tracked them down, recovering an encrypted USB stick containing $9.5 million of stolen ethereum.
The police said that $12.7 million more were seized a few days later when a “cryptograph safety deposit box” and “the code to access it” were located. In total, $22.25 million were seized from the scammers, the Economic Crime Unit confirmed. At the time of writing, ETH is trading at $3,231.
The victims of the scam were based in the U.K., U.S., Europe, China, Australia, and Hong Kong. They “deposited money, including life savings, into what they thought was an online savings and trading service using Binance Smart Chain, which stores and records transactions made in crypto-currency confirming their movement and value,” the police described.
After a significant amount of money had been deposited, the scammers shut down their website and transferred the funds to their own accounts.
The police detailed:
The sum totalled 90% of the cryptocurrency stolen, and work has now begun on re-uniting it with the rightful owners, some of whom are still unknown and located across the world.
Detective Chief Inspector Joe Harrop commented: “We urge anyone involved [in] these platforms to use extreme caution, and know that there are still significant vulnerabilities and risks that could put their savings at risk.”
UK police have recently been active in seizing cryptocurrencies. In July, the Metropolitan Police seized £180 million in crypto as part of a money-laundering investigation after they confiscated £114 million in crypto a few weeks prior.
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