Nigerian scammers converted millions of dollars into BTC via the Gemini crypto exchange according to an FBI criminal complaint that we are looking more into in the upcoming Bitcoin news.
The two Nigerian scammers who filled their social media accounts with pictures of immense wealth were extradited from Dubai to the United States. According to the FBI, they were able to siphon millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin via the Gemini exchange. The two are Ramon Olorunwa Abbas with the aliases “Ray Huhspuppi” and “Hush” and Olalekan Jacob Ponle known as “Mark Kain” and “Mr. Woodbery.” The FBI complaint focused on the former’s activities and how he used Bitcoin to transfer stolen funds.
According to the FBI, Ponle and his accomplices engaged in a scheme known as business email compromise which means a criminal will gain access to legitimate business email accounts and then will start manipulating the employees of the company into transferring company funds to the criminal’s bank account. The complaint alleged that Ponle and his accomplices defrauded multiple American companies of tens of millions of dollars and converted $6.5 million into 1500 BTC:
“Preliminary blockchain analysis indicates that PONLE received at least 1,494.71506296 bitcoin related to these BEC schemes, valued at approximately $6,599,499.98 at the time he received the proceeds.”
The complaint also said that it is clear Ponle was not concerned about covering his tracks on the VTC network because he was using the same address since 2014. Gemini crypto exchange was the preferred exchange among criminals which is interesting because the exchange is considered one of the most compliant in the industry. Ponle’s associate confirmed the $2,149,000 that were deposited to Gemini and converted to BTC. These transactions were traced on the Bitcoin blockchain when the bitcoin price was set at $3500. Another transaction took place on January 17th, 2019 when Ponle’s accomplice converted $119,000 into 33.13 BTC and the transaction originated from an unidentified address.
The FBI was able to infiltrate Ponle’s inner circle when an agent started communicating with Ponle using the same handle that was used by one of his associates. Gemini was the exchange of choice, for converting the stolen assets. LocalBitcoins and Huobi were the choices to cash out. 577 BTC was cleared via the former and 539 via the latter. Ponle urged his followers by posting:
“YOU ARE WORTH THE PLEASURES OF YOUR LABOR 💙 Stop letting people make you feel guilty for the wealth you’ve acquired, especially when you paid in blood, sweat and tears, to have the things that are deemed “ un-purchase-able”.”
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