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FBI Currently Investigating 130 Crypto Related Cases

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reportedly revealed that it is working on 130 cryptocurrency-related investigations, citing an increase in illegal activity facilitated by crypto payments. These cases “encompass crimes such as human trafficking, illicit drug sales, kidnapping and ransomware attacks.”

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

FBI’s 130 Crypto-Related Cases

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly “has 130 cases tied to cryptocurrencies,” according to Supervisory Special Agent Kyle Armstrong. Speaking at the Crypto Evolved conference Wednesday in New York, he was quoted by Bloomberg:

The cases ‘threat tagged’ to virtual currencies encompass crimes such as human trafficking, illicit drug sales, kidnapping and ransomware attacks.

FBI Currently Investigating 130 Crypto-Related CasesArmstrong is in charge of the FBI’s virtual currency initiative, which has been around for about three years, the publication noted.

While acknowledging that his agency “takes a neutral view on digital tokens, he noted several pros and cons,” the news outlet conveyed and quoted him explaining that the FBI has noticed an increase in illegal activity facilitated by cryptocurrency payments. “There are thousands of cases in the bureau, so it is a small sliver at this point,” he elaborated.

Crypto Use on the Dark Web

According to Armstrong, “the opioid epidemic” has become a focus of the FBI as the agency sees “a surge in drug abuse,” enabled by the dark web. Moreover, he claimed that the agency has also “seen a significant rise in extortion schemes related to virtual currencies on the southwest border of the U.S.”

FBI Currently Investigating 130 Crypto-Related CasesIn its budget request for Fiscal Year 2018, the FBI asked for “80 positions and $21.6 million” to improve its investigative technology to combat cybercrime. The agency cited, “Some of our criminal investigators face the challenge of identifying online pedophiles who hide their crimes and identities behind layers of anonymizing technologies, or drug traffickers who use virtual currencies to obscure their transactions.”

On Monday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to help prevent the illicit use of cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, dash, zcash, and monero. This bill shortly follows a testimony by a high-ranking official of the U.S. Secret Service before the House of Representatives Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance. He asked Congressfor help in preventing the illicit use of cryptocurrencies.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it has seized “nearly 2,000 bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, with an approximate value of more than $20 million,” in a nationwide undercover operation targeting darknet vendors.

Authored by:  Kevin Helms

First published: https://news.bitcoin.com

Date of publication: 28.06.2018

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

MT Gox Image

Hedge Funds Are Reportedly Racing to Buy Mt Gox Creditor Claims

nternational hedge funds are said to be moving to purchase claims held by customers of failed bitcoin exchange startup Mt Gox.

The Financial Times reported this morning that as many as four hedge funds are moving to buy claims related to the Japan-based bitcoin firm, seeking a possible windfall should creditors be made whole.

Documents obtained by CoinDesk indicate that Argo Partners, a New York-based firm that focuses specifically on investing in failing or bankrupt companies, is among those seeking to purchase claims.

Argo Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

That hedge funds would be interested in the claims of Gox customers is perhaps unsurprising.

The process of unwinding the exchange, which collapsed in early 2014, is likely to drag on for years given the slow progress in the creditor process as well as the pending trial of Mt Gox CEO Mark Karpeles, who was released on bail last July.

There’s also a wide pool of potential claims sellers to pursue. Creditors have claimed hundreds of millions of dollars in outstanding claims since the exchange entered bankruptcy.

Should global hedge funds become involved in the process, it would offer a new twist on an industry-defining narrative.

Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange by trade volume, collapsed dramatically following months of growing operational problems. Karpeles was arrested on suspicion of fabricating volume data and was later charged with embezzlement.

The demise of Gox set the stage for much of the regulatory response to bitcoin in the years since, particularly in Japan, which has moved to bring the country’s bitcoin exchange ecosystem under existing financial statutes. Japanese lawmakers have cited Gox’s failure as a key driver in the regulatory push.

Authored by: Stan Higgins

First published: Feb 13, 2017

Martin Lewis

‘Enough Is Enough’: Finance Guru Sues Facebook Over Crypto Scams’

Martin Lewis, a British personal finance guru, is suing Facebook for allowing scammers, including some promoting cryptocurrency schemes, to use his likeness in advertisements on the platform.

Lewis is the founder of the MoneySavingExpert blog, and his name and face well known following his years of writing and many TV appearances. In a post to his blog Monday, Lewis explained that he is initiating high court proceedings against Facebook over the issue in a personal capacity, not through MoneySavingExpert. Any damages the court might award him would be donated to anti-scam charities, the post adds.

According to Lewis, over 50 fake ads using his likeness have been published on Facebook within the past year. He names two scams in particular, Bitcoin Code and Cloud Trader – both of which promised outsized profits from trading binary options, a risky asset class that Lewis calls a “near-certain money-loser.”

The Facebook ads in some cases link to fake news articles designed to resemble U.K. news sources The Mirror and the BBC.

 

“Enough is enough,” Lewis writes. “I’ve been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues.”

He states:

“It’s time Facebook was made to take responsibility. It claims to be a platform not a publisher – yet this isn’t just a post on a web forum, it is being paid to publish, promulgate and promote what are often fraudulent enterprises. My hope is this lawsuit will force it to change its system.”

Facebook announced that it would ban ads for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in January.

Reached for comment Monday, a Facebook spokesperson told CoinDesk:

“We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights and they will be removed. We are in direct contact with his team, offering to help and promptly investigating their requests, and only last week confirmed that several adverts and accounts that violated our Advertising Policies had been taken down.”

Lewis acknowledges that Facebook has removed some of the ads, but says it has taken “days or weeks” in some cases, and that the scammers respond by re-posting ads that are all-but identical.

Facebook image via Shutterstock.

Author: David Floyd  

 Apr 24, 2018 at 09:00 UTC