Category Archive : Crime News

Facebook Novi pilot program launches without support for Diem cryptocurrency

Facebook Inc.’s long-awaited Novi digital wallet has launched into testing but with a major feature missing: support for Facebook’s Diem cryptocurrency.

The pilot program is being run in the U.S. and Guatemala, except for those living in Alaska, Nevada, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For now the program offers support only for USDP, a “stablecoin” provided by the Paxos Trust Company. USDP is claimed by Paxos to be the “world’s leading regulated stablecoin” and is pegged to the U.S. dollar through 100% cash reserves.

The pilot program for the Novi wallet is being supported by Coinbase Inc., which is acting as the custody partner for the product via Coinbase Custody. Coinbase explained in a blog post today that Novi users’ funds would be held within Coinbase Custody Trust Co., a qualified custodian in New York that is fully regulated under that state’s law. Novi users will also benefit from Coinbase Custody’s insurance, which includes a $320 million crime policy.

Coinbase Custody managed $180 billion of crypto assets as of the end of June and is pitched as offering deep expertise with secure and scalable crypto infrastructure.

“We believe that in the future, every company will be a crypto company, including fintech platforms, banks, social media, gaming companies and consumer brands,” Coinbase said. “Our goal is to arm them with the best tools possible so their own users have a first-class experience and participate in the crypto-economy.”

Picking Paxos as the stablecoin provider makes sense in that Paxos is fully regulated and legal, but it’s also not even close to being in the top 100 cryptocurrencies. USDP is so small and obscure that it currently has a market cap of just $74 million, according to CoinGecko, and is presently trading at 96.45 cents, below its $1 pegged rate.

The launch of Novi without Diem is also an interesting move by Facebook. The launch of the pilot program comes two years after Facebook…

Read more at siliconangle.com

Cryptocurrency broker GoldDiamondex.com appears to be engaged in fraud against California consumers

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has received a complaint from a California resident regarding a crypto investment scam.

The victim told DFPI he was scammed into transferring money to this online crypto trading company, after hearing about it from a person online. The victim transferred cryptocurrency to the company after the online scammer claimed he would teach the victim about cryptocurrency. The victim transferred funds into the site several times at the request of the scammer. At some point, the victim realized he could only deposit money into the account operated by the site, not make withdrawals. The company operates a website at https://www.golddiamondex.com/wap.

This appears to be what is commonly called an “Advance Fee scheme,” which can take many forms, as discussed here:  https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/advance-fee-schemes

The DFPI urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services. To check whether an investment or financial service provider is licensed in California, consumers may contact the Department for questions or inquiries at [email protected] or call toll-free at (866) 275-2677. If a consumer believes a person or company has violated state law or acted improperly regarding a consumer financial product or service, they may file a formal complaint with the DFPI at https://dfpi.ca.gov/file-a-complaint/.

Read more at www.einnews.com

Cryptocurrency broker primeXoptions.com appears to be engaged in fraud against California consumers.

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has received a complaint from a California resident regarding a crypto investment.

The victim told DFPI he was scammed into transferring money to this online crypto trading company, after hearing about it from a person online. The online scammer claimed to be a crypto currency investment trader, and helped the victim open an account with Prime Expert Options. The scammer told the victim to purchase bitcoin and transfer it into the account, then claimed the victim had made substantial profits and should upgrade to the next level. The victim transferred more money and the scammer told him he had made even more profits. But when the victim asked to withdraw some money, the scammer told him he needed to pay thousands of dollars in taxes and brokerage fees. The investor asked to pay these fees from the profits, but the scammer said this was not possible. The company operates a website at https://www.primexoptions.com. The online person provided a contact at https://t.me/AmeliaWhite_fx.

This appears to be what is commonly called an “Advance Fee scheme,” which can take many forms, as discussed here:  https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/advance-fee-schemes.

The DFPI urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services.  To check whether an investment or financial service provider is licensed in California, consumers may contact the Department for questions or inquiries at [email protected] or call toll-free at (866) 275-2677.  If a consumer believes a person or company has violated state law or acted improperly regarding a consumer financial product or service, they may file a formal complaint with the DFPI at https://dfpi.ca.gov/file-a-complaint/.

Read more at www.einnews.com

2 Grand Rapids residents plead guilty in bitcoin-laundering operation

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Three people have pleaded guilty to operating a money-transmitting operation without a license at a nonprofit between March 2017 and December 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Western District of Michigan.

The US Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that Christopher Allan Boden, 46, from Grand Rapids; Daniel Reynold DeJager, 35, from Tacoma, Wash.; and Leesa Beth Vogt, 37, from Grand Rapids decided to enter into a plea deal with prosecutors.

DeJager purchased and frequently laundered bitcoin, which would then be transmitted to Boden to sell, the U.S. Attorney’s Office explains, adding other staff at The Geek Group (Vogt included) sold bitcoin to their customers.

While it is legally permissible to purchase and sell cryptocurrency like bitcoin, authorities claim the members of The Geek Group were not licensed to do so in the way they had.

Vogt and Boden, among others, avoided detection so they could buy more bitcoin, officials say.

We’re told the defendants managed to sell over $740,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

“Cryptocurrency is not a license or invitation to commit crime,” says U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge. “Federal law regulates those who deal in cryptocurrency as it does those who deal in government-issued currency. We will root out and prosecute crypto criminals wherever we find them.”

Sentencing hearings are scheduled to take place on Feb. 17 (Vogt), Feb. 22 (DeJager) and Feb. 25 (Boden).

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Read more at www.fox17online.com

Elaborate ‘CryptoEats’ Food Delivery Scam Steals $500,000 in Minutes

For the last week, a handful of UK-based celebrities have been talking about a new startup, called “CryptoEats,” that would compete against UberEats by allowing customers to pay for food delivery in cryptocurrency. The creators mocked up a logo, got TikTok influencers to promote it (and one to wear its swag on a video), apparently threw a party, and announced the EATS token through a press release that went out over a service used often by legitimate companies. 

Almost immediately after its launch, CryptoEats vanished from the internet, along with a few hundred thousand dollars in one of the more elaborate shitcoin rug pulls in recent memory.

In the press release, which can still be found on Yahoo Finance, CryptoEats claimed it had raised $8 million in Series A funding. “How could such a low-key idea to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment for your food attract such interest from the cryptocurrency community?” it asked. “Crypto Eats first real step in allowing people’s [sic] to use crypto currency as a form of payment for items in the real world.”

The press release, which was released through a service called GlobeNewswire that is used by a lot of legitimate tech companies (as well as a recent high-profile cryptocurrency scam involving Litecoin and Walmart), went on to claim that its founder, Wade Phillips, had partnered with Nando’s, McDonald’s, and hired an army of delivery drivers that would allow the company to “compete head-on with the likes of Uber eats and Delivaroo thanks to its algorithm based blockchain implemented software.”

The CryptoEats website claimed it had “hundreds of restaurants to choose from” and promised odd-sounding features such as ordering individual items and having a driver pick them up from different restaurants on the way to your place. It promised coffee delivery within five minutes at the press of a button, and promised potential workers a pension contribution and guaranteed salary. Ahead of the token…

Read more at www.vice.com

National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team Turns Up the Crypto Heat | Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) to “tackle complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.” According to the DOJ, the NCET will primarily draw team members from the DOJ Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), and detailees from U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.

Among other things, the NCET will:

  1. Investigate and prosecute cryptocurrency cases;
  2. Develop strategic priorities for investigations and prosecutions involving cryptocurrency;
  3. Identify areas for increased investigative and prosecutorial focus, including professional money launderers, ransomware schemes, and financial institutions working with cryptocurrency;
  4. Develop and maintain relationships with federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies that investigate and prosecute cryptocurrency cases;
  5. Train and advise federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in developing investigative and prosecutorial strategies; and
  6. Collaborate and build relationships with private sector actors with expertise in cryptocurrency matters to further the criminal enforcement mission.

Federal regulators are already actively pursuing cryptocurrency companies, as illustrated by a few recent matters:

In August 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) assessed a $100 million civil money penalty against BitMEX. BitMEX is a convertible virtual currency derivatives exchange that operated as a futures commission merchant and that provided money transmission services. FinCEN determined that BitMEX willfully “(i) failed to implement and maintain a compliant anti-money laundering program, (ii) failed to…

Read more at www.jdsupra.com

Coinbase (COIN) to power crypto custody for Facebook’s (FB) Novi


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(Updated – October 19, 2021 9:15 AM EDT)

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) has chosen Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) as its custody partner for its pilot of Novi, a new digital wallet that enables people to send and receive money abroad instantly, securely, and with no fees.

For the pilot, Coinbase is supporting Novi via Coinbase Custody, which keeps user funds secure with our proprietary, fully segregated cold storage capability for managing private keys.

Novi users who can participate in the pilot can acquire Pax Dollar (USDP) through their Novi account, which Novi will hold on deposit with Coinbase Custody. Novi users will then be able to transfer USDP between each other instantaneously.

Novi users’ funds will be held within Coinbase Custody Trust Company, a qualified custodian and a New York limited purpose trust company. Coinbase Custody Trust Company is regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services and is a fiduciary under New York state banking law. Novi users also benefit from Coinbase Custody’s leading insurance program, which includes a $320 million commercial crime policy.

Coinbase Custody is a leading crypto-native platform and custodian that securely manages $180 billion (as of 6/30/21) of crypto assets on its platform. Over the past nine years, Coinbase has developed deep expertise in secure and scalable crypto infrastructure, which we initially built to power our own first party applications. We then productized this infrastructure and now supply our secure infrastructure solutions to the rest of the market. This includes our leading custodial solutions, multi-venue algorithmic trade execution, staking support, financing, defi access, compliance, and market and on-chain data analytics.

We believe that in the future, every company will be a crypto company, including fintech platforms, banks, social media, gaming companies, and consumer brands. Our goal is to arm them…

Read more at www.streetinsider.com

Australia’s ANZ Settles In Crypto Debanking Case

Amid a national conversation on debanking of crypto businesses, one of Australia’s “Big Four” banks — ANZ — has settled a case brought by local exchange operator Allan Flynn, who argued ANZ debanked him due to his occupation in cryptocurrency.

Fast facts

  • Flynn, crypto trader and owner of the Australian exchange BitcoinCanberra, announced the settlement on Twitter late last week, sharing a statement that read: “ANZ further acknowledges that this could, subject to the defence in section 57N, have amounted to unlawful discrimination contrary to sections 7(1)(p) and 20 of the Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT).” This was only one of two debanking claims Flynn had lodged against two of Australia’s largest banks; another claim with Westpac will be heard later this week.
  • Debanking has been a growing issue in Australia of late, making up part of the remit for the ongoing Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre, headed by Senator Andrew Bragg. While Australia’s banking sector has long denied allegations of the practice, there is a growing list of complaints from within the crypto industry that they are being unfairly targeted. During a recent parliamentary hearing on the issue, global payments Unicorn Nium said Australia was the only country of the 40 in which it operates to have been debanked in this way.
  • Michael Bacina, partner at Piper Alderman, who also sits on the board of Blockchain Australia, told Forkast.News he is hopeful this move is a step in the right direction. “Crypto businesses are wary about speaking out lest they be debanked as a result,” he said. “Many will view this as a positive development, but I expect there will be a healthy dose of scepticism.”
  • He also added: “The myth of digital assets being predominantly used for money laundering or crime is slowly being dispelled but conservative businesses will take time to educate themselves and understand that a traceable public blockchain is one of…

Read more at forkast.news

How to identify such scams, tips to stay safe

With more and more people getting into investing in cryptocurrencies, incidents of crypto crime are on the rise. Such cases are rising with every passing day. In the latest incident, Bitcoin scammers are targeting iPhone users via popular dating apps such as Bumble, Tinder, among others. Also Read – Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch gets a new display notch, powerful silicon, graphics: Here’s a closer look

A report released in the month of April this year, the total crypto crime in 2020 garnered around $10.52 billion, which is roughly around Rs 79,194 crores. Let’s take a look at the latest crypto scam targeting iPhone users and tips to stay safe. Also Read – AirPods 2 price in India drops following launch of AirPods 3

Bitcoin scammers targeting iPhone users

The latest crypto scam targeted iPhone users using dating apps such as Bumble and Tinder. As per a report coming from Sophos cybersecurity researchers, a Bitcoin wallet was identified with tokens worth $1.4 million, which roughly translates to around Rs 10 crores. The report suggests that the money in the wallet was collected via online scams. The report reveals that these crypto-scammers have been targeting people in Asia and are now expanding in Europe and the United States. Also Read – New MacBook Pro 14-inch, 16-inch models start at Rs 1,94,900 in India: When can you buy

Sophos reveals that these Bitcoin scammers were not only duping iPhone users into stealing their hard-earned money but also convincing them to download fake crypto applications with the aim to steal their personal data as well. The report doesn’t clearly reveal what kind of data these scammers have collected so far.

The report suggests that scammers managed to take control of victims’ iPhones by accessing their accounts through fake crypto-trading apps. The Sophos report further stated due to the scam, “one victim lost $87,000 (roughly Rs. 65…

Read more at www.bgr.in

Cyberattacks Surge. How the U.S. Is Getting Serious About Hackers.

The weekend ransomware attack on


Sinclair Broadcast Group

highlights a growing problem for American companies: Cyberattacks attacks are surging, and many executives feel helpless to stop them.

Now, some security experts see signs that the U.S., after years of trying, is getting serious enough to curb the spread of the costly crimes. 

President Joe Biden seized on cybersecurity last week as a global crisis, holding a ransomware summit with 30 allied and friendly nations, touting sanctions against an allegedly ransomware-linked cryptocurrency exchange, launching a crypto crime-fighting team in the Justice Department, pushing businesses to share cyberattack information, and calling for the rebuilding of government and private-sector online security.

“America has talked about this for a long time,” said JT Kostman, CEO of the software firm ProtectedBy. AI and a veteran cybersecurity federal contractor. “There had been a lot of hand waving, and people running around saying ‘Oh my dear. Oh my dear.’ This is the government finally saying that the steps we took to fight terrorism, anti-money laundering, and know-your-customer laws are being applied to cybercrime.”

The Treasury Department released a report on Friday identifying $590 million of suspicious activity reports believed to be linked to ransomware between Jan. 1 and June 30, a record sum that shows cybersecurity threats remain despite decades of federal initiatives to root it out. The report, by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, follows a year of high-profile attacks.

In


Sinclair’s (ticker: SBGI)

case, the television station operator said data was stolen when its operations were disrupted over the weekend. Its stock fell Monday on the news. Cox Media Group, one of the largest media conglomerates, reported a cyberattack in June that affected its internal…

Read more at www.barrons.com

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