Teenager who ran 'sophisticated' money laundering operation has £2m of bitcoin seized

A teenager from Lincolnshire who carried out a 'sophisticated cyber fraud' has had more than £2m of bitcoin and other crypto currency seized by police.

The 17 year old who cannot be named for legal reasons was arrested in August following investigations into intelligence reports received from Action Fraud and Crimestoppers. It was revealed he was stealing personal information to defraud a digital gift voucher company out of £6000.

He was charged with fraud and money laundering in connection with the investigation and sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order.

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital or virtual currency, similar to PayPal or bank credit, that can be bought or traded online.

Cryptocurrencies remain controversial because of their lack of regulation and volatile value fluctuations, and some critics have raised concerns about the anonymity offered to users as part of transactions, arguing the currencies are being used by cybercriminals to hide their activities.

DC Casey added: “Cryptocurrency is often thought, by criminals, to be an anonymous way to move funds around undetected but I’m glad that in this case, we were able to highlight that the police are now able to effectively investigate offences of this nature.

"It’s no secret that the tactics used by cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated, but through our commitment to training and development in digital investigation, this case has also shown that we are prepared and able to adapt to the ever-changing and complex nature of cybercrime.”

At today's sentencing, Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight paid tribute to the speed the detectives progressed the complex investigation, which involved a large number of devices and digital evidence.