Hacking Isn’t the Only Way Your Cryptocurrency Can Get StolenBy
New Jersey man charged in $1.8 million ether armed robbery
Accomplice who held victim at gunpoint hasn’t been apprehended
You don’t need to be hacked to lose your cryptocurrency to thieves.
An unidentified New York City man found out the hard way when an acquaintance allegedly entered his apartment and took his digital wallet containing $1.8 million worth of ether after another man robbed him of his keys at gunpoint.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said this type of crime will become more frequent as values of cryptocurrencies continue to surge. Ether, the second biggest cryptocurrency, has spiked to all-time highs amid a bitcoin rally.
"Hackers, data breaches and fraud aren’t the only threats to an individual’s wealth," Vance said in a statement. "This case demonstrates the increasingly common intersection between cyber and violent crime.”
The acquaintance, identified as 35-year-old Louis Meza of Passaic, New Jersey, is charged with burglary, robbery and kidnapping and faces as long as 25 years in prison if convicted of the the most serious offenses. He pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday.
The holdup happened Nov. 4 after the two men met and the victim accepted a ride home in a minivan arranged by the acquaintance, according to prosecutors. Another person who’d been hiding in the van -- who has not been apprehended -- appeared and pulled out a gun, demanding the victim’s cell phone, wallet and keys.
Security cameras at the apartment building recorded Meza leaving with a box that was believed to contain the digital wallet, and records show he later transferred the ether into his personal account, prosecutors said.