UK Police Recover Millions of Pounds Worth of Stolen Cryptocurrency

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UK authorities have returned over £4 million in cryptocurrency to 23 victims, with another 127 people waiting to validate their claims. The money was recovered in 2021 in a large operation in the city of Manchester.

Cryptocurrency scams are not all that uncommon, but the stolen money is gone for good in many cases. Authorities manage to track down the cryptocurrency from time to time or even stumble upon stashes during other investigations.

In this case, the Greater Manchester Police’s Economic Crime Unit seized $22.25 million (equivalent to just over £16 million) in July 2021 during an operation targeting a specific type of fraud.

“Victims based in the UK, United States, Europe, China, Australia and Hong Kong had deposited money, including life savings, into what they thought was an online savings and trading service using Binance Smart Chain, which stores and records transactions made in crypto-currency confirming their movement and value,” said the Greater Manchester Police.

“The scammers operating the service waited until a significant amount of money had been deposited, before shutting down their website and transferring the funds into their own accounts.”

After the authorities received intelligence that the scammers were in the Manchester area, they tracked them down and recovered an encrypted USB stick containing $9.5 million of stolen Ethereum. A 23-year-old male and a 25-year-old female have been arrested. Surprisingly, a few days later, the authorities also found a Cryptograph safety deposit box containing $12.7 million.

“Anyone involved in these Crypto-currency and trading services are urged to take extreme caution and do a lot of research as there are still huge risks, said Detective Chief Inspector Joe Harrop, from GMP’s Economic and Cyber Crime unit. “Thankfully, we’ve returned over four million pounds to 23 individual victims and we’re continuing to work through a large number of other reported claims where we can hopefully return even more money.”

Recovering stolen cryptocurrency doesn’t happen very often, but it’s nice to see that not all hope is lost and that sometimes such funds can be recovered.