Argentine Cybercriminal Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Stealing 500 ETH

Héctor Matias Predilailo, a 36-year Argentinian, has recently been sentenced to two years in prison for allegedly stealing 500 ETH from the wallets of a cryptocurrency wallet and crypto exchange called Mercury Cash in December of last year.

This, according to court documents marks the first time that Argentina has seen a cryptocurrency-related arrest. Predilailo was sentenced by Judge María Susana Gutierrez of the Superior Court of Justice, after being charged with “hacking” and “violation of secrets and identity,” and pleading guilty to entering the crypto platform’s systems.

Per the documents, the hacker managed to enter Mercury Cash’s systems between December 14 and 16 of last year, and managed to steal a total of 500 ETH from its wallets. At the time, according to CryptoCompare data, each ETH token would be worth about $800, meaning the hacker managed to steal about $400,000. At press time, the cryptocurrency is at $111.

 While it isn’t clear how many Mercury Cash users were affected by the theft, the documents explain that the hacker noticed he was able to access the platform’s systems and used this to add malicious code to them so he could monitor its users and withdraw funds from their wallets. He reportedly used a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide his IP address.

The documents add:

In addition, through computer manipulation (possible access through a web browser to the code of the page in question), and without proper authorization, caused the transfer of an asset with economically appreciable content (NdeR: the virtual currency) to the detriment of the heritage of the victims and for its benefit.

Aggravating his sentence was the fact that he “damaged” the company’s “prestige” with his actions, the documents read. The Division of Technological Crimes of local police reportedly participated in the investigation.

Predilailo was reportedly already facing a six-month sentence for engaging in gender violence. While in court the hacker declared he was a gambler, and is now set to receive professional help.