Crypto related cybercrime has been biting for a while now but apparently, authorities are also relentless in their efforts to bite back. According to news reports, an Englishman in Norfolk, has been sentenced to a jail term of 20 months and has also been made to surrender more than £400,000 in cryptocurrency. The funds are proceeds gotten from illegal hacking services he offered, requiring “customers” to pay in crypto.
Identified as Elliot Gunton, the nineteen year old man pleaded guilty and was later sentenced on Friday the 16th of August, at the Norwich Crown Court. The hearing detailed the seizure of Gunton’s laptop more than a year ago in April 2018, when police carried out a routine visit of his home and found compromising software on his laptop. The visit was to ensure Gunton’s obedience of a “Sexual Harm Prevention Order” given to him for related misdeeds back in June 2016.
Further investigation then revealed that Gunton “offered to supply compromised personal data of individuals to others for them to use for criminal purposes.” Gunton had also advertised his services, with a $3,000 fee, payable in Bitcoin. This was done to make it difficult for law enforcement to trace his criminal activity. Regardless, police investigation found online chats between Gunton and cohorts, which detailed some illegal activity.
Police also traced an online Twitter alias “@Gambler” to Gunton. Gunton had ineptly tweeted: “having lots of money is cool…but having lots of money without people knowing is cooler.” The police have so far successfully seized £275,000 ($335,000) from him.
According to Detective Mark Stratford:
“Gunton was exploiting the personal data of innocent businesses and people in order to make a considerable profit but he did not succeed in hiding all of his ill-gotten gains which enabled us to seize hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of Bitcoin.”
Gunton was sentenced but immediately released as he had already served the sentence while on remand with the authorities. However, Gunton has now been issued a Community Behaviour Order lasting about three and a half years. The order compels Gunton to strict use of the internet including staying away from any private browsing or incognito modes of any browsers as well as notifying the police if he is to hold any cryptocurrency.
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