Leader in $1.8 million Cryptocurrency Armed Robbery and Kidnapping Pleads Guilty

Cyrus R. Vance, Manhattan District Attorney, on Wednesday September 5th, notified the public concerning the guilty plea of Louis Meza, following his trial fororganizing the kidnapping and theft of Ether (ETH) valued at over $1.8 million.

Meza now awaits his sentence slated for September 27th after taking a guilty plea for two class B felonies; Grand Larceny in the First Degree and Kidnapping in the Second Degree in New York State Supreme Court.

The Story

On 12th June, following the arrest of Meza, D.A Vance announced that charges of kidnapping, armed robbery and theft of Ether were leveled against three accomplices of his: Cezar Guzman, 38, Allan Nunez, 36, and Darrell Colon, 37.

The District Attorney gave details about the case in his announcement:

As alleged in this case, the defendants worked together to carry out a kidnapping, armed robbery, and theft of more than $1.8 million in cryptocurrency, in a violent attack that demonstrates the vanishing line between street crime and cybercrime.

Court documents on the case show that Meza began the execution of his plan by arranging a meeting with the victim, getting him to use a car service he had subsequently secured for him. Nunez posed as the driver of the supposedly rented minivan while Colon hid at the back of the vehicle.

While Nunez drove, Colon popped out from the back of the vehicle and with the use of a firearm, threatened the victim to hand over his personal possessions including his phone, wallet, and keys to his house. The items collected were handed over to Meza while the minivan stayed on the road for roughly two hours.

Colon also made the victim disclose the location of the passphrase for his crypto wallet. This information was passed on to Meza and Guzman who entered the victim’s house using his keys. The two left the house with a box containing the victim’s digital wallet.

The final stage of the crime was carried out shortly after that when Meza sent Ether worth over $1.8 million to his own address.

Unfortunately for the suspects, Meza and Guzman were caught entering the victim’s premises on a video recorded by a surveillance camera. The victim also escaped from the minivan and reported the case to the police.

D. A Vance praised the investigation team for bringing Meza to book without delay, in what he called a landmark conviction in an undeveloped area of the law:

Since 2010, my Office’s Cybercrime & Identity Theft Bureau has developed the expertise and technology to become a national leader in cybercrime prosecution and prevention, as underlined by this conviction and recovery of funds on the survivor’s behalf. I thank our investigators and prosecutors for their work on this significant and complex case.