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

Young Australian Woman Accused of Stealing 100,000 XRP Pleads Guilty

Siamak Masnavi

Katherine Nguyen, the first Australian charged with cryptocurrency theft, has pleaded guilty.

Background

On 25 October 2018, according to a report in media outlet "news.com.ua", police in the state of New South Wales in Australia arrested a 23-year-old woman from Sydney over the alleged theft of 100,000 XRP tokens.

Apparently, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad had set up a task force back in January 2018 to investigate the reported theft of 100,000 XRP tokens from a 56-year-old man. The investigators were told by the alleged victim that he was locked out of his email account for two days in mid-January 2018, but he thinks that his email account may have gotten hacked in December 2017.

After he managed to eventually get back control of his email account, he noticed some suspicious activity involving his cryptocurrency account, and when he checked this wallet, he found that almost all of the crypto there had disappeared.

However, after an approximately ten-month investigation, on 25 October 2018, detectives used a search warrant to get access to the young woman's home, arrested her, and took her to Ryde (a suburb of Sydney) Police station, where they charged her with "knowingly deal with proceeds of crime." 

The police were alleging that the woman (possibility with the help of others) took over the man's email account, changed his password, thereby locking him account, and then set up two factor authentication using a mobile phone number. It is further alleged that she then accessed his crypto account, and transferred his XRP tokens to a crypto exchange in China, where this XRP was converted to Bitcoin.

Latest Development

On Friday (August 23), Australian TV news channel 7NEWS sent out the following tweet:

According to their report, in January 2018, Nguyen, the alleged cryptocurrency thief, "hijacked" the email account of a 56-year old man with the same surname as her. 

The report goes on to say that although Nguyen has pleaded guilty, there is "still some dispute over the exact facts," which will hopefully be "settled at a special hearing in October" (this hearing has been given the task of preparing "a pre-sentence report").

When she is sentenced in October, there is a real possibility that she will have to go to jail.

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com