Thai Police to Expand $25 Million Bitcoin Theft Case Investigation

  • A young Thai actor was arrested two weeks ago for allegedly defrauding a Finn out of $25 million worth of bitcoin.
  • New information about the case suggests the accused used the funds to purchase shares of a company and land in his own name.
  • Police continue investigating and plan to bring in more suspects for questioning.

On August 10, CryptoGlobe reported on the alleged theft of $25 million worth of bitcoin belonging to a Finnish investor. Two weeks after the arrest of Jiratpisit Jaravijit, the main suspect in the case, the National Post reports the Thai police are about to take their investigations to the next level.

New Information

As covered, it is alleged that Jiratpisit Jaravijit, a soap opera actor, along with his siblings and other suspects, tricked the Finn to send funds to invest in Expay Software Co. and a cryptocurrency-investing company. Subsequently, the bitcoins were converted into the local currency and deposited into accounts by the perpetrators.

It has since been found out that the funds were deposited into 51 bank accounts owned by 7 individuals. have also uncovered documents that show that Jaravijit actually bought shares in said companies. Other documents also show the actor and his siblings bought land near the Thai capital with the funds. The accused has, however, denied having acquired the assets.

New information now suggests some of the Finn’s money was to be invested in  casino in Macau. He is said to have been promised huge returns from said investments as well.

According to details found in court documents, the young actor and his accomplices are being accused of money laundering and fraud involving $25 million worth of bitcoins received from Aarni Otava Saarimaa, the 22-year-old plaintiff from Finland.

Saarimaa, after several fruitless attempts to get the suspects to send him the returns on his investments, filed a complaint in January. Chonnikarn Kaewsalee, Aarni Saaremaa's Thai business partner helped file the complaint.

Warrants have also been issued for the arrest of the main suspect’s accomplices and siblings. Parinya Jaravijit, the actor’s elder brother has since eloped from the country. Police have also made it clear they would be querying more suspects in the case.

Controlling Thailand’s Crypto Space

In a bid to have more oversight and control over the rapidly growing crypto space, the Thai government imposed new crypto regulations in March. Industry specialists have, however, said there hasn’t been any strict enforcement of these new laws.

The governor of the Bank of Thailand, after clarifying the fraud case was about “misuse of money” and not crypto trading, told citizens to avoid jumping into crypto investments without first studying the basics of crypto investments.

It’s crucial that anyone who wants to invest in high-risk assets such as digital currencies and bitcoin educate themselves and fully understand it

Veerathai Santiprahhob

Coinbase Doesn’t Want You to Get Scammed on Telegram

On Friday (April 19), cryptoasset exchange Coinbase's security team explained how various "threat actors" are trying to use Coinbase's brand to commit scams on messaging platform Telegram. 

Telegram is a free cloud-based messaging app with the ability to make voice/video calls. It is available as a web app, a mobile app (OS and Android), and a desktop app (MacOS, Windows, and Linux). In recent years, it has become the messaging platform of choice for cryptocurrency traders/investors, developers, and entrepreneurs for various reasons, such as the ability to create price bots.

In a long, detailed article published on Friday, Matt Muller, Head of Security Operations at Coinbase, started by pointing out that "Coinbase does not provide support through Telegram, nor do we have any authorized groups or channels." (In fact, "Coinbase has no official presence on Telegram," and "any usage of the Coinbase logo or brand on Telegram" should be considered a scam.)

He then went on to say that Coinbase's security team has been following the activities of "several threat actors attempting to leverage the Coinbase brand on Telegram for purposes ranging from crypto scams to account takeovers." 

In order to help users of Coinbase and other exchanges recognize "the signs that they may be talking to a scammer," Muller outlined some of the most common scam techniques on Telegram.

  • Employment Scams"Scammers on Telegram impersonate Coinbase recruiters and executives with fake career opportunities. These scams prey on job seekers, soliciting payment for training materials, mining hardware, or in some cases providing stolen financials for the purposes of money laundering. These job offers will appear very legitimate, with forged offer letters and seemingly astute interview questions. Coinbase recruiters will never contact job seekers via Telegram."
  • Giveaway Scams: "Impersonations of our executives and brand to perpetuate giveaway scams are becoming increasingly common on Telegram. One channel in particular, titled simply Coinbase, advertises a new giveaway scam almost daily."
  • Load-up Scams: "Telegram frequently hosts scammers advertising the buying or 'loading' of accounts with high limits. These scammers ask to access your Coinbase account, so they can use your verified limits to buy digital currency. While they claim to split profits with the account holder, in actuality, they use stolen credit cards and bank accounts, leaving you responsible for facilitating a financial crime. When the legitimate card or account holder reverses payments, you will be responsible for any account delinquencies caused by the fraudulent bank reversals. In many cases, the scammer will lock you out of your account, use your own payment methods without consent and steal any available digital currency."
  • Tech Support Scams: "Scams impersonating customer support take many shapes and sizes... Scammers will impersonate Coinbase or Coinbase employees, asking you to take action that results in theft of digital currency. Some scams involve fake promo offers. Many of these scams ask for remote access to your computer, something Coinbase personnel will never ask for... In other situations, the scammers pressure you into 'upgrading' or securing your Coinbase account by sending digital currency to their external address."
  • Coin Listing and ICO Scams: "Scammers on Telegram often approach project developers soliciting payment for asset listings on Coinbase and other digital asset exchanges. In addition, scams promising investment bonuses on new ICO listings are prolific."

Featured Image Credit: Photo by "geralt" via Pixabay.com