Cop allegedly stole 81 bitcoin from drug dealer’s Trezor wallet

An Australian police officer is due in court this week, accused of stealing 81 bitcoin currently worth AU$6.3 million ($4 million) from the Trezor wallet of a suspected illegal steroid dealer he was investigating.

On January 25, 2019, the dealer was raided as part of a drug trafficking investigation called Operation Viridian. During the raid, police discovered large amounts of “steroid substances,” a computer, and a physical Trezor crypto wallet containing bitcoin.

​William Wheatley, then working in the Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) cyber crime division, was contacted by an officer involved in the raid who needed help with the seized wallet. He texted Wheatley, “Hey mate, you ever seen one of these? Maybe a cryptocurrency thing.” 

As reported by, Detective Deon Achtypis told the court that on February 14, 2019, he noticed that 81.616 bitcoin, worth AU$450,000 ($291,000) at the time, had been transferred from the seized wallet to two other addresses.

Police lacked resources to track crypto

Police reportedly struggled to trace the crypto and suspected that an accomplice of the dealer was involved. Then in 2021, equipped with better resources, authorities apparently traced the bitcoin to Wheatley. 

Achtypis learned an IP address had been linked to the AFP’s headquarters, and in a written statement said, “I formed the opinion that a police member may have been involved in the movement of the cryptocurrency.”

Read more: More than 100 Romanian hospitals offline after bitcoin ransom demand

Police claim Wheatley transferred the bitcoin four days after the Trezor wallet was seized before depositing the funds into his bank accounts between 2019 and 2022. Wheatley was charged in 2022 and accused of theft, dishonestly benefitting himself, and dealing with property suspected to be linked to crime.

In Wheatley’s defense, his lawyer said the case against him was “circumstantial” and that they would dispute any allegations against him. He is scheduled to appear at a committal hearing this week at a Melbourne Magistrate Court.

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