Afek Zard, an Israeli resident, will be imprisoned for the next eight years for stealing 75,000 DASH coins worth 22 million Shekels, or about $7 million, from a close friend. Aside from the jail time, the man will pay a $1.5 million fine and $80,000 in compensation to the victim.
When it comes to cryptocurrency, be wary of your friends.
Afek Zard, 27, was sentenced to 8 years in prison by the Be’er Sheva District Court for stealing 75,000 digital coins worth approximately $6.8 million. Surprisingly, the man’s victim was a close friend.
Zard, who had prior experience with cryptocurrency investments, was a frequent visitor to his friend’s home and even had his own key, according to authorities. Unfortunately for the victim, the criminal took advantage of their friendship and hacked his computer, stealing the details of his digital wallet, which contained 75,000 DASH coins.
At the time of the crime, the cryptocurrency was worth approximately $6.8 million, with a single unit of DASH trading at $82.5. Following the investigation, Zard denied all charges and refused to provide passwords for his own computer and cell phone. As a result, the police investigators were unable to seize the stolen property.
Judge Yoel Eden, on the other hand, ruled that Zard’s testimony was untrustworthy and that he was indeed guilty. The court found him guilty of hacking into computer material, money laundering, fraud under the Income Tax Ordinance, and aggravated theft.
In fact, the prosecution requested at least 12 years in prison for Zard because this is a serious crime involving a new type of currency. However, his lawyer, Giora Hazan, was able to reduce his sentence to eight years by claiming that “despite the fact that this is a new platform on which the offense was committed, the damage caused to the compliant is ‘normal and old’ damage, just as it would have been if the defendant had entered the compliant’s house and stolen many tens of millions of shekels.”
Stealing Bitcoins Over a Glass of Wine
A similar incident occurred in Malta last month. However, this time the two men were not at home, but rather in a restaurant.
During their lunch break, the accused, 25-year-old Luke John Milton, urged the victim, 27-year-old Dillon Attard, to make a $6,000 blockchain investment on his phone. While watching, the latter noticed something was wrong and snatched his device from the accused, only to discover that his crypto worth $700,000 had been depleted because the former had apparently diverted the funds to another wallet.
When the cops arrived, Milton attempted to shift the blame by claiming he was the victim of the fraud. When the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) demanded that both men turn over their phones, the accused became agitated and refused.
The case will be heard again on August 11th. Interestingly, Milton denied revealing his phone’s password, and police officers were considering hiring foreign experts to unlock the device and thus help solve the problem.