IT Contractor Sent to Prison for 20 Months for Stealing Crypto From Business Owner

Michael LaVere

An IT contractor from English town St Helens was sentenced to 20 months in jail after stealing around £31,244 (roughly $40,000) in cryptocurrency from a client's PC.  

According to a report by the St Helens Star -- covered on June 12 by Cointelegraph -- Mark Andrews of Woodlands Road, Haresfinch, St Helens was "charged with theft and one offence under the Computer Misuse Act."

Jonathan Duffy, the prosecuting barrister, told Liverpool Crown Court:

"The victim in this case had purchased a quantity of cryptocurrency and stored it in a secure private folder within his business network.

"In April 2019, the currency had increased in value to £31,244.07.

"The defendant was a self-employed IT specialist who supported businesses with their software and networks.

"The victim employed Mark Andrews to sort out his business's IT software and paid him £1,320 for the job.

"Andrews had access to the business's system and all aspects of the network.

"But he secured unauthorised access to the victim's private folder and stole all of the cryptocurrency."

The victim in the case discovered that his cryptocurrency had been stolen several weeks later and contacted authorities. Cheshire Police’s cybercrimes team seized Andrews’ computer, and discovered the illicit transactions.

Andrews had already spent £14k to cover personal debts, leaving only £17k in funds for authorities to recover. 

Judge Simon Berkson told Andrews:

"You were put in a high degree of trust at this man's business, you breached that trust by stealing all of the money you could.

"It was an easy thing for you to do.

"This was his personal money and it caused this man significant harm."

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