British Crypto Scammer Forfeits $1.1 Million in Bitcoin to Police

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There are scammers lurking in the darkest depths of the internet, scamming innocent people and seldom being caught by authorities. But, in a rare case, British police did manage to catch Grant West – a prolific scammer from Kent, England – back in 2017. He was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for scamming more than 100 companies. Until now, his plunder from scamming companies has been locked away safely, but in order for a comfier stay in jail, West handed over $1.13 million in Bitcoin to the Metropolitan police.

Stealing Data and Selling it for Bitcoin

West wasn’t an ordinary crypto scammer, he instead stole credit and debit card information as well as addresses and numbers of people after posing as the popular delivery service, Just Eat. He also tried to hack big-name companies in the UK, including Nectar, Argos, T-Mobile, Ladbrokes, Uber, and Vitality. He hacked and scammed his way to a collection of 78 million usernames, 63,000 credit and debit card details, as well as addresses and numbers for a further 100,000 people. He would sell this data on the dark web in exchange for Bitcoin. As Facebook is well aware, data is a big-money business, allowing West to rake in millions over the course of his time scamming people.

The Dark Web is Still Popular

Despite the high-profile case of Silk Road, people continue to use the dark web. Whether it’s due to a lack of other options available or ignorance, law enforcement agencies are reveling in these easy to solve cases. Due to the face Bitcoin is pseudonymous, police can easily trace dark web stores and their profits back to culprits – the same way they caught Ross Ulbricht of Silk Road. Earlier in the month, the FBI raided the home of a US couple that were running a dark web drug ring. They were forced to hand over millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash – the vital tool the FBI used to catch the dynamic duo.

Privacy-Focused Decentralized Marketplaces Offering Opportunities

The dark web is no longer a viable option for merchants looking to sell illegal goods and services, leaving many drug and arms dealers to look for other venues for their products. This is where privacy-focused decentralized marketplaces come into the fray. By collecting virtually no data on store owners or people purchasing goods and services from the platform, as well as allowing people to transact in a totally privacy-focused cryptocurrency, police would have no way to track down evildoers. Not to mention that most of these marketplaces operate on a decentralized blockchain network, meaning the police can’t simply shut them down.

The Police are going to sell off the $1.13 million in Bitcoin and return it to the victims of West’s crimes. Hopefully, the police handle it better than Mt Gox liquidators who were responsible for crashing crypto markets after liquidating millions of Bitcoin on public exchanges.