Breaking Story: Bitcoin Scammers Email Bomb Threats, Causing Evacuations Across The U.S.

Kevin O'Brien

Numerous evacuations have taken place across the United States on December 13th after scammers sent bomb threat emails demanding bitcoin payment to a number of businesses, companies, schools, and other entities, according to reports.

No Evidence of Explosives Yet

As of press time, authorities indicated there is not any evidence so far of any explosives detonating or actually being placed. However, police are asking people to remain vigilant as they work through the threats.

It is not yet clear how far the email threat has spread, but law enforcement in numerous jurisdictions across the country have released statements on social media and other outlets about the situation.

The Federal Bureau Of Investigation said it is aware of the threats and remains in contact with law enforcement across the country.

 

 

Speculation is the messages are robo-emails that were sent out in a group. The New York Police Department indicated on Twitter how it looks like they were sent to “cause disruption and/or obtain money."

 

 

Bomb Threats Asking For $20,000 In Bitcoin

A number of people on Twitter posted screenshots of the threatening email sent by the bitcoin scammers.

 

 

The email is printed in an article by Heavy.com.

It begins declaring that “my mercenary” has placed a bomb in “the building where your business is conducted” that would wound many people upon detonation.

In order to “call off my man,” a payment of $20,000 in bitcoin must be made to an address listed in the message. The scammer says the guarantee to not detonate “will become valid only after 3 confirmations in blockchain.”   

Different Versions Of The Messages

According to The Verge, there seem to be multiple versions of the email, some of which list a different type of explosive material.

The actual bitcoin wallet also looks to vary across messages. The Verge also wrote that it was able to confirm at least three wallets. It is not yet clear if anyone has actually paid the ransom. 

$200 Million Stolen By Crypto Scammers in Brazil in Fraudulent Investment Scheme

A gang of criminals in Brazil have reportedly stolen more than $200 million from around 55,000 local residents. According to The Next Web, the criminals promoted a fraudulent crypto-related scheme which involved operating an unregistered financial services firm. The fraudsters promised unsuspecting investors around a 15% return on their invested capital, local news outlet Correio Do Povo confirmed.

Nearly $250 Million Allegedly Stolen

Brazil’s Federal Revenue Service revealed that the scammers raised approximately 850 million Brazilian Reals ($210 million) by February 2019 from unsuspecting investors. Notably, local police officials believe the fraudsters could have stolen up to R$1 billion (appr. $250 million).

Brazil’s Federal Police department and the nation’s Federal Revenue Agency have now managed to shut down the fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme. Referred to as Operation Egypto, the cryptocurrency scam is currently being investigated - as authorities have issued 10 arrest warrants.

Investing In Cryptoassets Is Not Illegal In Brazil

Brazilian law enforcement agencies have also executed 25 search and seizure orders across eight different cities in the South American country. As confirmed by local sources, the criminals had set up their fraudulent crypto business in the Brazilian city of Novo Hamburgo.

Clarifying that investing in cryptoassets is not illegal in Brazil, Eduardo Dalmolin, a senior official at the nation’s Office of Corruption and Financial Crimes, remarked:

The problem with this company is that it was acting without authorization.

Using Investors’ Money To Buy Luxury Items

After conducting an extensive investigation, Brazilian authorities reportedly found that the accused had not been making investing in cryptocurrencies. Instead, they were using the investors’ money to buy luxury items including expensive cars, real estate, and fancy jewelry. The scammers also reportedly invested small amounts in fixed rate, low-yield investments.

Brazilian police officials have managed to seize the scammer’s assets which include an undisclosed amount of cash, several real estate properties, 36 luxury cars, among other things.

Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering Using Bitcoin

Currently, the accused are also being investigated for their alleged involvement in financial misappropriation, money laundering, fraudulent management, and orchestrating a large-scale organized crime.

Earlier this year, Brazilian police officials arrested a man who was allegedly involved in operating a drug trafficking ring and engaging in money laundering using bitcoin. After investigating the matter, authorities managed to seize more than R$250,000 (appr. $63,000) worth of mining hardware used to mine the pseudonymous cryptocurrency.