Police seize $4M in crypto in New Zealand movie piracy crackdown

Police in New Zealand have seized over $4 million worth of cryptocurrency in a crackdown on illegal movie streaming platforms. According to a report by the New Zealand Herald, this is the largest amount of crypto that the police have seized in the country.

Police seized NZ$6.7 million (US$4.2 million) following an investigation into alleged movie piracy in the United States. The police also seized NZ$1.1 million (US$700,000) in bank funds from 31-year-old software programmer, Jaron David McIvor.

The crackdown started in the U.S. when tax officials launched an inquiry into illegal movie streaming back in 2016. The investigations led the authorities to Hamilton, a city in Northern New Zealand to McIvor’s residence. And while he has made millions of dollars from his illegal venture, McIvor still lives modestly in a rental property with a relative.

After the police apprehended him, McIvor handed them the private keys to wallets that contained US$4.2 million worth of cryptos. He also surrendered access to a bank account containing US$700,000. Police allege that he received the money in his bank account through international wire transfers, Stripe and PayPal. The money was frozen under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act.

According to a police report, McIvor has been receiving the money from an illegal movie streaming website which he helped create, an act that constitutes money laundering. McIvor’s lawyer however claims that he has denied the allegations.

The police report indicated that the New Zealand police have been working together with U.S. authorities for some time now to nab McIvor. Richard Chamber, the Assistant Commissioner of Investigations, stated:

This outcome reflects the importance of these international partnerships and it also demonstrates the capability of our investigators to prevent and respond to cyber-crime and money laundering, which are often unbounded by geography.

Despite being caught in possession of the illegal proceeds, McIvor’s lawyer Truc Tran stated that he’ll put up a fight to ensure his client goes free. As reported by Stuff, Tran said, “He’s a really good guy and we’re really keen to defend this type of proceeding and this is all new territory for the police so they are quite keen to go ahead with it. There’s no way they’re going to stop.”

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