The prime suspect in a high-profile Bitcoin (BTC) theft case has pleaded guilty to Singapore court.
Syed Mukhtar Syed Usopp, an accomplice in the $ 360,000 robbery, pleaded guilty to a local court on September 9, according to the Singapore-based Straits Times news agency.
Mukhtar, along with two of his associates, Jaromile Ji Ming Lee and Muhammad Abdul Rahman Muhammad, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from a Malaysian in Singapore.
The group claims to be a Bitcoin middleman and deceived the victim into believing that they wanted to sell Bitcoin for cash. Finally, the criminals attacked the Malaysian and disappeared with a backpack worth $ 365,000 instead of returning the promised Bitcoins.
In early April 2018, Singapore Police arrested Mukhtar and Abdul. The man allegedly spent around $ 80,000 on luxury goods, including a $ 45,800 Rolex watch.
According to the Straits Times, the affairs of Mukhtar’s associates continue. The man was released on bail of $ 30,000 and was taken into custody on Friday. It was alleged that the legal documents did not state whether the authorities had succeeded in recovering what was left of the stolen money.
Cryptocurrency theft and fraud has risen dramatically in recent years, from $ 1.7 billion in 2018 to $ 4.4 billion in 2019. According to data from blockchain tracking and analytics platform Whale Alert, fraudsters have stolen more than $ 38 million in Bitcoin over the past four years.
As the world’s governments try to tackle Bitcoin-related crimes, new crimes continue to emerge. In early September, the US government issued an order to suspend and cancel transactions against the operator of two alleged crypto fraud schemes. In August 2020, Hong Kong authorities arrested three men for stealing HK $ 226,000 from Bitcoin ATMs.