Where there is money, there is a scam. As people continue to invest in cryptocurrency across the world, fraudsters are having a field day scamming people and making a fortune for themselves. In fact, a gang of Bitcoin fraudsters in the UK’s Lancashire made so much money (22 million pounds) that they had no idea how to spend it. Struggling to spend the cash, the gang handed out 5,000-pound gift vouchers to people in the street and bought cars for people they met in the pub, according to BBC.
As per the report, the mastermind of the massive scam is James Parker who used a glitch in a trading website to siphon money with the help of Kelly Caton, Stephen Boys, Jordan Robinson and James Austin-Beddoes. The fraud began in 2017, and within three months, his team siphoned off more than 20 million pounds worth of credits. They initially splurged the money on luxury items like houses, cars, designer watches and fancy wine coolers.
At one point, they had so much money that they bought cars for strangers and gave away 5000-pound vouchers to try to deal with the proceeds, Lancashire Police said.
However, the twist in the story came when Kelly Caton, one of the team members, reported to police that her daughter had stolen 15 Bitcoin, which at the time was worth about 75,000 pounds.
“It was that call to police [that] made us wonder ‘how does this lady who lives in modest circumstances, a very small rented home in Blackpool, possess such hidden wealth’?” Detective sergeant David Wainwright, of Lancashire Police’s fraud unit, said.
An extensive investigation soon followed and the scam was unearthed. Police recovered 445 Bitcoin, worth 22 million pounds, along with luxury watches, houses, cars and designer goods, along with more than 1 million pounds in bank accounts. Mr Wainwright said such was the scale of it, the gang “struggled to spend the money”.
“The wealth they came across was probably too much for them to comprehend themselves,” he told BBC.
The detective further informed that James Parker bought cars for about 20 people he met in a pub and he handed out 5,000 pounds gift vouchers to strangers in the street as well as tipping taxi drivers 50 pounds.
Though James Parker died in 2021, and could not be brought to justice, the other conspirators were convicted last year and sentenced on Friday last week. The cops are also working to retrieve as much of the money as possible to return it to victims of the fraud.
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