23-year-old Sydney woman arrested for $450,000 (now $65k) XRP theft

Posted: 25 October 2018 11:41 am
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Here's a good reason to use local exchanges where possible.

A 56-year-old man fell victim to an almost half million AUD cryptocurrency theft, losing 100,000 XRP right as prices were at US$3.18 and near their all-time high. NSW police established Strike Force Rostrevor in response and executed a search warrant on a home in Epping this morning.

Today, the spoils are worth about AU$65,000.


The victim told investigators he believed his email account had been hacked the month before the theft, and that he was subsequently locked out of his account for a couple of days in January. When he regained control, his crypto exchange account balance was down to nearly zero.

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The lag of the better part of a year between the loss and the arrest of a suspect suggests there might be plenty of other investigations still going on. The cryptocurrency hype of late 2017 brought a lot of unscrupulous interest along with retail speculators and created something of a perfect storm for thefts.

The time saw a massive influx of millions of relatively inexperienced crypto owners who might not have been entirely up to date with their crypto security, but hardware wallets were selling out as soon as they hit the shelves anyway, so a lot of people had no choice but to stick with hot wallets or keep their funds on exchanges. At the same time, rapidly inflating prices saw a lot of rich targets suddenly appearing almost out of thin air.

This arrest goes to show that some of the investigations initiated back then might be coming to fruition now. At the same time, Strike Force Rostrevor might have been a valuable experience in cryptocurrency and blockchain investigations.

That the investigation was successful suggests that the funds were held on an Australian exchange which goes to show the additional levels of protection users can be afforded when using cryptocurrency exchanges closer to home. Local exchanges can also offer other cost benefits like low or no withdrawal fees, the ability to avoid currency exchange costs and similar.

It's unclear whether the theft of $65,000 of digital currency, rather than $450,000, would have elicited the same response, whether the funds were recovered (would that make the alleged thief an impromptu fund manager?) or whether the victim was planning to hodl from $450,000 to $65,000 anyway.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC and ADA.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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