Indian woman arrested for stealing 64 BTC from a company she cofounded

Police in India have arrested a woman alleged to have stolen over $450,000 from a company she cofounded. The woman founded the company in 2017 and after two years, she left her post. Just a month later, she turned around and stole 63.5 BTC from her former employer.

The police arrested the 26-year-old Ayushi Jain on Thursday last week, a report by the Times of India has revealed. Jain stole the BTC from BitCipher Labs LLP, a company she had cofounded with Ashish Singhal in 2017.  She left the firm in December last year.

Singhal noticed the missing BTC this month and immediately reported it to the country’s Criminal Investigation Department. He told the investigators that he holds the private keys to the company’s hard wallet, together with three others. They had noticed that 63.5 BTC was missing recently and that it had been cashed out through SwapLab digital currency exchange between January 11 and March 11.

The police at once suspected that it had been an insider job, given the way the BTC was transferred. B Dayananda, the director general of the economics wing of the CID narrated, “We found the suspect had used a passphrase, a sequence of words or text used in a computer system, to gain access into the hard wallet. We asked the complainant to furnish details of the staff, including those who left the job recently.”

It didn’t take the investigators long to identify Jain as the prime suspect. They took her into custody and raided her house, seizing a laptop that contained the history of everything she had done. A senior police officer explained how she had conducted the attack, “She purchased a hardware wallet and used the passphrase to convert bitcoins with the assistance of Swaplab exchange to Monero cryptocurrency, and later had them transferred to her Binance account. The woman volunteered to transfer the stolen bitcoins back to their original owners, and it was done.”

The officer claimed that she intended to use the BTC to open her own digital currency exchange.

This marks the first digital currency-related crime since India’s Supreme Court lifted a banking ban that the Reserve Bank had imposed on the industry. With the lifting of the ban, India’s digital currency industry is expected to grow rapidly, with the low banking penetration and the 1.3 billion population expected to spur this growth.

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