An Israeli court has sentenced a crypto thief to eight years behind bars for stealing close to $7 million in DASH from a friend, reports Ynet.
On Monday, the 27-year-old was found guilty of all charges, including aggravated theft, money laundering, and fraud.
In March 2019, Zard leveraged a friendship with long-term crypto investor Alexei Yaramenko to steal almost 75,000 DASH, worth about $6 million at the time.
Zard hasn’t returned any of the stolen crypto and has refused to cooperate with police. DASH has since more than doubled in value and is now worth over $13 million.
Zard’s lawyer Giora Hazan shaved some time off the 12-15 year sentence requested by state prosecutors by comparing the crypto theft to a run-of-the-mill robbery.
“Although this is a new platform on which the offense was committed, the damage caused to the compliant is ‘normal and old’ damage,” Hazan told the court (via Ynet).
Victim taught crypto thief about crypto
Yaramenko’s testimony noted the pair were close. He even gave Zard a key to his flat.
While teaching his former friend Zard how to purchase and use cryptocurrency, Yaramenko revealed information about the size of his own holdings.
For two days in March 2019, Yaramenko’s flat was empty which allowed Zard to make his move.
According to reports, Zard:
- entered the flat with a spare key and stole the private key to Yaramenko’s DASH wallet from his computer,
- used the crypto’s privacy features in an attempt to hide transfers to four digital wallets,
- faced police arrest three weeks after Yaramenko filed a complaint accusing him of the theft.
Earlier reports from local media suggested Israeli police struggled to provide evidence proving Zard entered the flat to steal the crypto.
However, prosecutors said they connected the wallets to Zard’s smartphone and laptop, although he’s refused to hand over passwords.
Zard denied the allegations but his failure to comply with police investigations led judge Yoel Eden to find his testimony unreliable.
In addition to his jail term, the crypto thief was ordered to pay a $1.5 million fine and $80,000 in compensation to the victim.