London Police Seize $667,000 in Bitcoin From Hacker Who Hit Over 100 Companies

  • London police seized half a million pounds from a hacker that managed to collect the personal data of approximately 78 million people
  • The hacker, who went by "Courvoisier," reportedly made over $2 million worth of bitcoin selling stolen data on the dark web.

London police have recently seized £500,000 (about $667,000) worth of bitcoin from a hacker that reportedly attacked over 100 companies with phishing schemes, which gave him access to at least 78 million individual usernames and passwords.

The hacker, 26-year-old Grant West, attacked various companies throughout the world through phishing emails, in order to obtain data. This data, Bloomberg reports, would then be sold on the dark web for the flagship cryptocurrency.

West, who online went by “Courvoisier,” hit companies like Asda, Uber, and Argos to get their customers’ personal data. After being caught, he was sentenced to 10 years and 8 months. The judge on the case, Michael Gledhill, described the hacker as a “one-man cybercrime wave,” and claimed he “secreted away” as much as £1.6 million (about 2.1 million) worth of bitcoin.

The judge stated:

“Regrettably, as this case has demonstrated, security of information held electronically is at best poor. When such inadequate security is confronted with a criminal of your skills and ambition it is totally unfit for purpose and worthless.”

Michael Gledhill

West was reportedly arrested while in a first-class train carriage, right as he was accessing the dark web. The arrest brought his phishing schemes, which had been running for two and a half years, to an end.

According to The Guardian, the hacker also used stolen email addresses to harvest more personal data. By posing as Just Eat offering customers rewards, West got the victims to fill out a survey that covered everything needed to make online purchases under their name.

The hacker admitted to various charges, including possessing criminal property, unauthorized modification of computer material, conspiracy to defraud, and money laundering. Anna Mackenzie, defending, argued West suffers from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. She said:

“He has expressed remorse and shame and acknowledges his irresponsibility, selfishness, greed and hunger to succeed. He wishes to offer apologies to the victims and businesses affected by his actions.”

Anna Mackenzie

At the time officers managed to recover the $667,000 worth of bitcoin, a memory card containing “approximately 78 million” individual usernames and passwords was also recovered.

Bitcoin Investors Reportedly Lose Millions in South African Exit Scam

Michael LaVere
  • VaultAge Solutions CEO Willie Breedt is being accused of making off with millions in investor bitcoin.
  • Breedt allegedly fled the country for Mozambique and has not communicated with investors since December 2019. 

South African cryptocurrency investors are accusing the CEO of VaultAge Solutions of stealing millions in crypto before going on the run. 

According to a report by AllAfrica, Willie Breedt, the CEO of cryptocurrency investment firm VaultAge Solutions, is presumed to be on the run after not making public communications since December 2019. The report claims Breedt was speculated to be staying near the town of Jeffrey’s Bay and that his whereabouts where being looked into by the country’s criminal investigation unit. 

However, South Africans who invested cryptocurrency with the now-defunct firm fear the CEO may have fled the country for Mozambique. 

Breedt is accused of stealing millions from bitcoin investors. The report claims VaultAge Solutions is not registered as a legitimate financial institution with the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA), despite having more than 2000 investors. 

The report quoted investor Lettie Engelbrecht from Krugersdrop, 

We are pensioners and invested R200 000. From December until April, we received payments on the growth of our investment. Since then, we never got any money. We are desperate and living on a shoestring budget.

One South African investor reportedly had deposited more than R6 million ($342,000) with Breedt’s company. 

Breedt delivered a written reply to local outlet News24, explaining, 

I am busy attending to the commitments I have made to members. The commitment is to have all the initial capital paid back by 31 May.

Colonel Katlego Mogale of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) said authorities are investigating the case but cannot reveal any more information “at this stage.”

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