French Authorities Charge 2 In $2.1M Crypto-Related Fraud

Fraudsters allegedly promised counterfeit cash or digital wallets for cryptocurrency and then stole the funds. 

BloombergreportedFriday (Dec. 9) that the scammers set up fake identities, arranged meetings with victims, received crypto assets from the victims and then got access to the funds through the victims’ phones. 

The meetings were arranged in Paris and Milan and the fraudsters stole at least 2 million euros (about $2.1 million), according to the report. 

French authorities have charged two alleged participants with fraud and money laundering. Their identities weren’t released.

This is one in a growing string of crypto-related frauds. 

Read more: Cryptocurrency Fraud Rose By 32% UK Regulators Warn

On Nov. 29, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York reported that a man pleaded guilty to defrauding customers who bought cryptocurrency-mining products and services. 

Chester J. “Chet” Stojanovich pleaded guilty to wire fraud after telling customers he would provide them with crypto-mining computers and hosting services, but instead kept the money. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 

“Cryptocurrency mining has generated much media attention and public excitement in the past few years, but new forms of money and investment can also generate fresh opportunities for old-fashioned fraud,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said at the time. 

The U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) said on Nov. 10 that between October 2018 and September 2022, it received more than 8,300 complaints related to crypto-assets, most of them in the last two years. In about 40% of crypto-asset complaints handled since 2018, customers said frauds and scams were the main issues. 

“Americans are also reporting transaction problems, frozen accounts and lost savings when it comes to crypto-assets,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said at the time. “People should be wary of anyone seeking upfront payment in crypto-assets, since this may be a scam.”