UK police have returned £8 million ($10 million) in bitcoin to a trader who was scammed six years ago, by a group that exploited a glitch in a crypto exchange to steal at least £22 million ($28 million) from users.
On Saturday, the Lancashire Fraud and Cybercrime unit reported it returned the £8 million to the victim last week. Their funds were taken by a gang of Blackpool-based crypto scammers that were sentenced earlier this year.
The group reportedly stole untold millions from victims of the Australian crypto exchange CoinSpot in late 2017. Authorities say the gang used someone in Dubai to convert the stolen crypto into cash before the group laundered it through foreign online accounts.
The gang struggled to spend all the money themselves and reportedly handed out £5,000 ($6,000) gift cards to strangers and bought cars for “people they met in the pub.”
James Parker, Kelly Caton, Stephen Boys, Jordan Robinson, and James Austin-Beddoes were all caught after one of the members called the police to report her daughter had 15 bitcoin stolen from her.
According to one of the detectives, “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’?”
Following a lengthy investigation, police have managed to recover 445 bitcoin, worth £22 million at the time.
Members of the gang were sentenced to over 15 years between them. James Parker, believed to be the gang’s ring leader, died and escaped prosecution.