The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has sentenced Conor Freeman to three years imprisonment over a criminal act involving Bitcoin. The 21-year-old Dublin resident connived with a group of five individuals to steal Bitcoins from cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Per the report by the Irish Times, Freeman alone gained more than $2 million worth of Bitcoins from these illegal activities.
Dublin Resident Involved in Bitcoin Theft
Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Freeman today after he pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly operating a computer to make gains. In addition to that, he admitted to possessing about 142.75682712 Bitcoin as proceeds from the crime. Taking Bitcoin’s price at $17,169, the cryptocurrencies are worth over $2.4 million. However, he spent approximately $154,000 from the illicit proceeds.
Throughout the trial, Freeman fully co-operated with the prosecutors, according to the report. He handed over the passphrase to the digital wallets containing the remaining cryptocurrencies. The presiding judge, Martin Nolan, applauded Freeman’s co-operation, to the extent that he almost granted perfect mitigation for the case. Other factors were considered as well, including Freeman’s youthful age, his cyber skills, and the fact that he wasn’t convicted before.
However, Judge Nolan proceeded to sentence him to deter him and to deter others from such crimes.
Cyber intelligence misapplied
As a teenager, Freeman was “very much a loner,” who later took pleasure in security hacking, especially for online games. He broke into several gaming accounts, although not for monetary purposes but for a thrill. This is according to Paul O’Carroll SC, who defended Freeman in the case. In May of 2018, he reportedly met a group of anonymous individuals online. Together, they targeted crypto investors on several social media platforms in the hope of accessing their email accounts.
One of the prosecutors, Sergeant Tom Anderson, disclosed that they hacked into victims’ accounts with support from some employees in telecommunications companies. These workers helped them transfer victims’ phone numbers to new SIM cards from which they perpetrate their attack. This process is known as SIM swapping, and extends beyond the cryptocurrency industry. Freeman was responsible for checking the crypto exchanges and accounts where the cryptocurrencies were kept. It remains unclear if he ever partook in the transfer of said currencies.
Per the report, the other co-conspirators currently face charges by the United States Department of Homeland Security. A final verdict may not be rendered in the near future, as the investigation is still ongoing.