Indian Investigators Stole Crypto From Their Own Investigation

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  • Two Indian crypto investigators have been arrested for stealing funds from the suspects’ wallet
  • Ravindra Patil and Pankaj Ghode were supposed to be helping police investigate a crypto fraud
  • The incident bears a strong resemblance to the agents arrested in the Silk Road case

Two freelance crypto investigators brought on board to help with a police investigation into a cryptocurrency fraud case have been arrested after helping themselves to funds from the case. Ravindra Patil and Pankaj Ghode were called on to help bolster the case against 17 people arrested for the cryptocurrency-based fraud, but over the weekend the pair were themselves accused of illegally transferring funds from the wallets of the accused. The case bears a resemblance to the Silk Road case which saw two officers jailed for the same crime.

Crypto Experts Called in Due to Talent Deficit

Patil, a retired officer of the elite Indian Police Service (IPS), joined Ghode, a blockchain expert, were brought in to help with the sprawling investigation due to the lack of knowledge about cryptocurrency matters within the Indian police force. The case dates back to 2018 and had already encompassed 17 suspects by the time Patil and Ghode came on board.

However, rather than assisting police, the pair instead added to their workload by helping themselves to the contents of the suspects’ digital wallets; according to Indian newspaper The Free Press Journal, Patil allegedly transferred some of the funds from the suspects’ wallets to his own, while Ghode manipulated the figures by providing altered screenshots of the accounts to police as the investigation continued.

It is not known how the pair were caught, but it seems that their dreams of launching new careers as a crypto crime-fighting duo are over before they have begun.

Striking Similarities to Silk Road Case

The case bears many hallmarks to that of the Silk Road investigation, which saw Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges and DEA Special Agent Carl Force, who at various times helped investigate the case, found guilty of siphoning bitcoin from Silk Road’s wallets into their own.

In February 2021 Bridges was identified as the owner of a Bitcoin wallet containing 69,370 which was confiscated by the U.S. Treasury Department the prior November.