A 58-year-old Austrian and his 81-year-old father caused €13 million in damage with a fraudulent bitcoin trade.
On December 14, the Vienna Regional Court dealt with the case of a duo of bitcoin scammers, a father and his son. The verdict was four and a half years in prison for the 58-year-old. The court sentenced the 81-year-old to 30 months in prison, 20 of which were suspended.
Crypto market advice
The perpetrators have been accused of fraudulent EU-wide bitcoin trading. They would have caused a total damage of 13 million euros to a hundred victims. The Federal Criminal Police Office (BK) reported on this.
The duo used their scam from January 2018 to mid-2019 on the sales platform “CMC – Crypto Market Consulting”. In the process, from December 2018 to mid-2020, they acted via the “Minerva Trading Bot” platform. Their victims came mainly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, some also from other EU countries.
Bitcoin Scammers Organized Pyramid Schemes
The crooks promised their victims high returns. They tricked their clients into investing and investing money or bitcoins under false pretenses. The invested capital would have been made available to professional “traders” to trade on crypto exchanges. Additionally, the duo promised a tiered brokerage commission as soon as investors recruit new clients from their own circle of acquaintances.
Based on an anonymous tip or complaint dated November 19, 2019 via the Austrian Justice Anonymous Whistleblower System, BKMS System for short, officials opened investigations. The whistleblower reported serious bitcoin business fraud to the Office of the Attorney General for Economic Affairs and Corruption (WKStA).
Minerva trading bot
The Public Prosecutor’s Office for Business and Corruption (WKStA) as well as employees of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BK) and the National Criminal Police Office of Lower Austria participated in the ensuing investigations . The BK informed:
“Officials from the National Criminal Police Office of Lower Austria, fraud investigation area, carried out the first investigations. Due to the fact that the crime scene was on the Internet, the complexity and the associated effort, further processing of the case was carried out under the direction of the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in conjunction with the employees of Federal Criminal Police Office, Department of Economic Investigations.
In addition to economic investigators, asset protection, analysts and cryptography experts from the BK, the Cybercrime Competence Center and international authorities in Germany, Switzerland and Bulgaria were involved in police investigation activities .
By working together, it was eventually possible to track down eight other people involved in the crime. These should also have contributed to the maintenance of the snowball system. As BK announced, further in-depth investigations are needed in this regard.
In addition, in 2019, the agents found the father and the son, then aged 53 and 77. Investigators arrested the son, who resided in the district of Baden at the time of the events, on October 21, 2021 in Bulgaria on the basis of a European arrest warrant. The seizure was successful thanks to cooperation between targeted investigators from the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Bulgarian authorities.
In November 2021, the son was transferred to Vienna-Josefstadt prison in Austria. The father, who lives in the district of Gmunden, was reported to be free on the orders of the WKStA. Both men confessed during interrogation.