Crypto-related crimes are never a laughing matter; nobody in his right mind would receive news of fraud or hacks with a cheerful expression. But these crimes and mishaps are too bizarre and hilarious they’d let you fall off your chair laughing, or at least fascinated by how these people were able to do anything they could with cryptocurrencies… until of course they get busted for doing so.
Here are 5 crypto-related crimes that would help keep you entertained and careful at the same time.
Bitconnect And Ponzi (featuring Carlos Matos)
Topping the list is Bitconnect, which initially claimed to be a cryptocurrency investment platform, only to be unmasked as a scam. Interestingly, many were deceived by the rather simple compensation scheme—initial members just need to recruit others into the scheme to get higher rewards. In other words, Bitconnect was found out to be a Ponzi scheme.
Thousands of people lost billions, and that’s no laughing matter. But the hilarious part of the phenomenon was the appearance of the eccentric and highly-energetic Carlos Matos, who went to the Bitconnect Conference in Thailand as a guest speaker. Matos, who lives in New York, said in the conference that he began with only $25,610. During his speech, he said that he already earned up to $140,000.
Matos would be remembered for his odd behavior and his overly-ecstatic bodily movements and remarks. He began his speech with a couple of “he-hey heeeyyy,” and then the infamous “whats-a whats-a whats-a what’s up?” which was also noticed in another separate video on Youtube. Matos’ speech was so hilarious that Youtuber Dylan Locke had to make a remix electronic dance music (EDM) with Matos’ remarks and bodily expressions in a carefully nuanced way.
The video reached over 1 Million views, and have caught the attention of PewDiePie, one Youtube user who has a following of over 60 Million. One commented on the video, saying that “at the end of this Bitconnect was a good thing that have happened just because of all the memes it gave us.”
If you haven’t watched the video yet, you may do so here.
The Blackmail Affair
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a warning on its site on August 21, informing the public of a new scam which specifically targets ‘unfaithful’ men and blackmails them into paying Bitcoin to “keep the scammers’ mouths shut”.
The scammers would send an email to men, saying that they are aware of an extramarital affair, and that they will need to receive a sum through Bitcoin lest the secret be revealed. Many would feel chills down their spine if they receive the email, especially if they really are having an affair. But the FTC maintained that this is just a new method that moderns scammers are using to extort money from the target, and that the threat is probably empty.
Turkey’s National Crypto (Not)
In June, another fraud was busted by Turkey’s police, as Turcoin, the self-proclaimed “national crypto” of Turkey, was revealed to be a Ponzi scheme all along. According to a previous article, the Turcoin founders Mohammed Satıroğlu and Sadun Kaya escaped with 100 Million Turkish liras, only to be detained by the police on June 19.
Satiroğlu insisted in his innocence, claiming that he was a mere mediator, and that it was only Kaya who ran off with the money. However, his other statements seemed to have contradicted his stance. He also confessed that Hipper, the company that created the Turcoin, did not even have a single dollar in the bank anymore, and that all the money went to Kaya’s company in Cyprus.
According to previous reports, Turcoin was able to deceive over 10,000 victims, with one investor saying he is “ruined” and that he doesn’t know what to do anymore.
But what was hair-raising was that Turcoin was reported to have given away 20 luxury cars during an extravagant gala organized to promote the token, and which was graced even by Turkish celebrities.
Top Secret Crypto Mining?
Earlier this year, Russian security agents arrested a handful of nuclear engineers at a top-secret nuclear warhead facility in Sarov, a closed town in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. No, they weren’t conspiring to launch a nuclear warhead to the US.
But what were they doing to have guaranteed an arrest? Apparently, they were using the facility’s supercomputer not to hack the Pentagon, but to mine Bitcoin. Yes, they attempted to use the supercomputer, which has a capacity for 1,000 trillion calculations per second, to mine Bitcoin.
Of course, they were caught immediately and were handed over to the Federal Security Service (SB). Not very rocket scientist-like, eh?
Leaving On An Airplane—With The Prime Minister?!
The crime dubbed as Iceland’s “largest criminal cases in history” has a very little to do with stealing from the national treasury and has much to do with stealing equipment for mining cryptocurrency.
The robbers were able to steal over 600 graphics processing units (GPUs), 100 power supplies, 100 motherboards, 100 memory disks, and 100 central processing units (CPUs). As if those were not enough, they were also able to steal up to 600 computers across two Icelandic municipalities.
The culprits were caught by the police, but one was able to escape from his custody in a minimum-security prison. Now here’s the funny part: the fugitive, named Sindri Thor Stefánsson fled the country on a fake passport, and happened to board the same plane that was carrying Iceland’s very own Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir who was on her way to Sweden to take part in a meeting between five Nordic prime ministers and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Despite his elusiveness, Stefánsson was caught once more, in cooperation with the Swedish police. But if there was someone to grab credit for his capture, it was Instagram—he posted a photo on the social media platform with the hashtag #teamsindri.
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