A former male employee has pleaded guilty to steal over $171K in cryptocurrencies from a liquidated New Zealand-based crypto exchange Cryptopia, according to local media coverage Monday.
The unnamed male defendant admitted two charges through his lawyer, including committed theft crimes by “a person in a special relationship and theft over $700”. He then was convicted and remanded on bail until October for sentence from the court.
Cryptopia was liquidated in 2019 after over $165K worth of crypto was being hacked and stolen, representing 15% of its clients’ digital currency stock, the report said. Followed by a series of legal progress managed by an accountancy firm as a liquidator afterwards. The liquidator, however, discovered thirteen Bitcoins were unlawfully withdrawn from various digital crypto wallets. Two of the Bitcoin was put through a crypto mixer to conceal their provenance.
The defendant was charged with owning an unauthorised copy of private keys from Cryptopia’s numerous digital wallets, enabling him to hack and access in excess of $100 million New Zealand dollars in Crypto.
The ex-employee later confessed to committing illegal acts by stealing and owning another worth over $7000 in crypto. He claimed he had returned six Bitcoins and was willing to return the remaining stolen tokens if he were not prosecuted.
This is the biggest theft case in New Zealand history. The total amount of Bitcoin now is worth around $171K, according to the current price.
“The defendant admitted that he was frustrated with Cryptopia but also motivated by the belief that he could get away with the theft as he thought nobody would ever check the old deposit wallets,” the summary of facts said.
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