An Australian woman pled guilty to stealing over $450,000 in the XRP cryptocurrency. The guilty plea was entered on August 23, as Katherine Nguyen acknowledged stealing the 100,000 tokens in January 2018.
Heading into the proceedings, it was believed that she was going to take the case to trial. Prosecutors in Australia were prepared to begin to present their case, but a guilty plea abruptly brought the proceedings to an end.
According to law enforcement officials, Nguyen was able to hack into the email account of a 56-year-old man who had the same surname as her. She then proceeded to steal the XRP currency before the account was closed two days later.
In the report, police explained that once Nguyen had transferred the currency out of the victim’s account, she then placed it in a Chinese cryptocurrency exchange where she began to swap it into SegWitCoin (BTC). The currency was then sent to an array of digital wallets where the perpetrator hoped that she would be able to hide her crimes.
Police began a 10-month search for the culprit, eventually locating her and placing her under arrest. Nguyen initially denied the charges, and seemed prepared to take this to trial, however, she took the plea deal on Friday. Terms of the deal were not provided during the court proceeding, but it is expected that she will face some jail time.
From the moment that the complaint was issued, cybercrime authorities in Australia began to take a thorough investigation into the allegations. According to Cybercrime Squad Commander Arthur Katsogiannis, “It’s a very significant crime and it’s the first we know of its type in Australia where an individual has been arrested and charged for the technology-enabled theft of cryptocurrency.”
Law enforcement officials have been taking an active approach to solving these crimes. It is estimated that AU$6.1 million ($4.12 million) has been lost to these types of nefarious activities in 2018, a 190% increase over the previous year. Most victims were encouraged to invest in scams that proved to be nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, while there are those who have had their accounts hacked as in this particular case.
XRP has become a rising digital asset, as it appears that Ripple has been playing a role in pushing the value of the cryptocurrency. After purchasing a stake in payment exchange service Moneygram, Ripple began to push the company to accept XRP as a valid form of payment.
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