US Authorities Arrest A Women in Murder-for-Hire; Paid $5k In Bitcoin to Scammer

A woman based out of Nevada has been arrested by the authorities for allegedly hiring a hitman to get her ex-husband killed. It is being reported that the woman paid $5000 in Bitcoin on the dark web, but the website turned out to be a scam, and the woman was indicted for conspiring to kill her husband.

The woman was identified as Kristy Lynn Felkins residing in Fallon, Nevada, as per the court documents from the US District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Authorities were tipped off about the payment, who later traced the website and went on to track the bitcoin transaction made by the accused along with the incriminating messages that she exchanged with the bogus dark web website.

How Did the Murder Plot Begin?

The court documents revealed that Felkins started talking to someone over the dark web using a privacy-centric Tor browser (it uses multiple layers of addresses to constantly change the IP address of the user to avoid any tracing) back in 2016. The individual she was talking to advised her to launder bitcoin using peer-to-peer marketplace localbitcoins.com to avoid any tracing.

Felkins was not so sure about the idea and, at one point, even asked the representative of the website whether they were from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). She asked,

“How do I know you are not FBI, they do have the capability to infect one’s device and trace them back to their real IP. Just being cautious.”

Felkins eventually agreed to do as she was asked, and between March 6, 2016, and March 9, she sent 12 Bitcoins to the website. She asked the website to shoot her husband outside his workplace, and at one point, even suggested the murder look like a mugging gone wrong. However, the website demanded an additional $4000 for the task, and Felkins backed out, asking the “hitman” to proceed with the killing as agreed in the first place.

Felkins revealed that her ex-husband was quite abusive both mentally and physically. In one of her conversations with the alleged hitman, she said,

“This man mentally, physically, sexually, and emotionally abused me. I ran, and then he took my children away from me. He now mentally abuses my children and threatens their physical well being. He is quite the snake and master manipulator.”

The shady dark web marketplace, after receiving the money, started to give excuses to her and, at one point, even said that her husband was not found at his workplace. Both parties stopped communication in April 2016, while the authorities came to know about the alleged murder plot almost three years later and indicted Felkins on Thursday.

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Author: James W

No More Selling Pressure from $5.7B PlusToken Ponzi as Chinese Police Arrest 82 Members

Chinese police have finally arrested all 27 primary suspects involved in the Plus Token Ponzi scheme.

The investigation led by the Ministry of Public Security successfully arrested all the major suspects and 82 key members of the case, reported Chinese financial news outlet CLS.

The Multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme has reportedly grown to 3,000 layers in the past year, frauding more than 2 million people for a whopping over 40 billion yuan, about $5.7 billion.

A year back in August, Chinese police officials arrested six suspects involved in this scheme, but the main suspects were still on the run at that time.

With this Ponzi scheme, the Chinese police have cracked down on one of the biggest Ponzi Schemes involving bitcoin as an exchange method.

PlusToken was launched in early 2018 and then in mid-2019 when some users couldn’t withdraw their funds from the wallets; it solidified the earlier suspicions of it being a pyramid scheme although the company tried to brush it off as a “hacker attack.”

Over these months, PlusToken has been a red sword hanging on bitcoin’s price’s head as time, and again the stolen funds were moved. Just last month, its entire Ether stash, about 790,000 ETH, was moved, spreading a wave of terror that it may cause Ethereum price to dump.

Given that bitcoin bulls now have “little to no baggage,” Dovey Wan, founding partner of Primitive Crypto, said, “let’s send it to the moon.”

The leading cryptocurrency is currently trading just over $11,000 after breaking key levels $10,000 and $10,500 this week.

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Author: AnTy

Bitmain’s Wu Jihan, Micree Zhan Continue Spat As Mob Brawls With Co-Founder

Luyao Liu, Bitmain’s Chief Executive, and the former legal representative has been arrested for his part in a ‘mob-like attack’ conducted on Micree Zhan, the exiled co-founder of Bitmain.

Bitmain’s Beijing subsidiary business license was apparently stolen, and the police held Liu responsible for what happened, together with others. Zhan has been involved with Bitmain’s other co-founder, Jihan Wu, in a power struggle since October of last year.

What on Earth Happened?

A group of people with masks (due to COVID-19) hassled Zhan at the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce.

Zhan was there to obtain a business license for Beijing’s Bitmain subsidiary so that he could become the legal rep for the company. Liu got arrested soon after the altercation for being involved in the assault.

Bitmain Says Liu Is the Company Legal Rep

An announcement from Bitmain’s WeChat official account says Zhan no longer holds a position at the company since October 2019, adding that Liu Luyao is the legal rep of Bitmain Beijing. Even if there are documents who show Zhan is in fact occupying this position within the firm.

The documents were called by Bitmain a registration error. Wu abandoned his CEO post at the firm in 2018, yet he appears to have appointed Liu as a legal rep this year. In February, Zhan appealed the decision with the Beijing Haidian District Bureau of Justice and won.

The Power Struggle at Bitmain

In October last year, a power struggle between Wu and Zhan started because Wu decided to oust Zhan. Zhan’s position within the company at that point was of chairman and legal rep. Bitmain staff was forbidden by Wu to have any interaction with Zhan, who said back then that he was removed as a legal rep without him giving his consent.

Ever since, he filed many lawsuits against 2 Bitmain subsidiaries, trying to also restore his position within the company and to obtain a business license for Bitmain Beijing.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitcoin Is Still The Number One Choice of Crypto on the Dark Web: Europol Affirms

There is an old saying when someone is arrested for illegal activities on the dark web: he should have used Monero. Curiously, it seems that this practice is not as common as some people think.

A recent report made by the Europol has concluded that only a small fraction of people use Monero (XMR) for the dark web, as most people still prefer to use Bitcoin (BTC).

The report shows that both legal and illegal use is still mostly focused on BTC. While the use of XMR tokens was higher for a time, it seems that privacy-focused crypto is not as common as their defenders would lead us to believe.

According to Europol, the main reason for this is that Bitcoin is still very well-known. People are familiar with the token, as it is the most valuable and popular asset in the market, so they just use it, despite how easy it is for the police to track it.

The situation gets even more curious when we see that most ransomware attacks still use BTC, too, despite how high-profile these attacks often are.

Despite the surprising predominance of Bitcoin in the criminal sphere, authorities affirm that a “pronounced shift” has been happening in the crypto world and more people are slowly using privacy coins. For example, some markets have now started to operate only using Monero, something which was considered rare before.

In any case, the recipe to be protected is still the same as always, just don’t commit crimes.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Crypto Scammers Operating 93 Social Media Pages Promoting OneCoin Arrested in Verona

Crypto Scammers Operating 93 Social Media Pages Promoting OneCoin Arrested in Verona

A Special Antitrust police unit in the Italian city of Verona has reportedly arrested crypto scammers operating several social media pages and scam sites. The suspects, operating a total of seven websites and a further 93 social media pages, had been promoting fake crypto projects.

One of the projects the scammers were promoting using the seized channels, according to Coinidol.com, was the infamous scam project called OneCoin. It reported that the suspects were urging eager crypto investors to invest in it.

In three other provinces within Italy, the police also detained five suspected scammers suspected of committing the same offenses. While the five are yet to be arraigned and charged, a Rome-based prosecutor charged six of promoting fraudulent projects using a Roman company.

They six, according to the evidence at the prosecutor’s office, had been using social media to promote their schemes. It further showed that they had additionally used ‘word-of-the-mouth’ to lure and scam the unsuspecting. They also ripped off the innocent by selling financial training courses along with cryptos for as little as €100.

Brother to OneCoin’s Founder Nabbed but Denied Bond Even as he Faces 20 Years in Jail

To date, only a few crypto scams ever pulled in the industry rival that of the infamous OneCoin. The project started in 2014, earned its fictitious owners who include the Bulgarian CEO, Ruja Ignatova, more than $4 billion.

What led many to naively splurge their funds in it is how it was packaged. In 2017, at the height of the ICO frenzy, this pyramid scheme wreaked havoc. The US Department of Justice reported that the project racked in over $2.5 billion in less than two years after stealing from the innocent crypto investors.

It took a while before it was confirmed that OneCoin was a Ponzi scheme. Later when it was revealed that it was a fictitious scheme, police in several countries led by Samoa and Singapore banned the project and prosecuted those promoting it.

Authorities across the world have been looking for the project’s hierarchy, even as the fight against scam crypto projects was intensified. A month ago, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) nailed down the brother to the Konstantin Ignatov.

Ignatov had been appointed to lead the project after his sister went underground in 2017. He appeared in court where he was denied a $20 million bond. If he will be proven guilty, Konstantin Ignatov could spend as much as 20 years behind bars.

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Author: Lillian Peter