Cybercrime detectives seize more than £2 million of cryptocurrency in Lincolnshire

More than £2 million worth of bitcoin has been seized by Lincolnshire Police’s Cyber Crime Unit in one of the largest money laundering investigations in the county.

A 17-year-old from the south of the county, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with fraud by false representation and money laundering in connection with the investigation.

He appeared at Lincoln Crown Court on October 26, and was sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order.

The teenager was arrested on August 14, 2020, following further investigations into intelligence reports received from Action Fraud and Crimestoppers.

More than £2million worth of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency has been seized by Lincolnshire Police Cyber Crime Unit

Intelligence suggested the suspect was involved in credit card fraud and was stealing personal information to defraud a digital gift voucher company out of around £6,000.

Detectives later uncovered links to money laundering through cryptocurrency, which prompted further enquiries and resulted in the seizure of more than 48 Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital or virtual currency, similar to PayPal or bank credit, that can be bought or traded online. It is decentralised, meaning it is not controlled by a government, but by an algorithm and users themselves.

Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies available.

The offence took place between April 9, to 16, 2020, and a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) was granted at Lincoln Crown Court.

Cyber Crime Investigator Detective Constable Luke Casey said: “This was a sophisticated cyber fraud and a complex investigation which involved our Cyber Crime Unit working collaboratively with a number of external agencies and other internal departments.

“I would like to give thanks to all involved for their hard work, commitment and dedication in helping to bring about a positive outcome for this case.

“Cryptocurrency is often thought, by criminals, to be an anonymous way to move funds around undetected but I’m glad that in this case, we were able to highlight that the police are now able to effectively investigate offences of this nature.

To report fraud visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.