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Huge cryptocurrency wallet retrieved after hacker found guilty of blackmail

|News, Proceeds of crime

More than £750,000 of criminal money has been recovered from a hacker under special powers used by the CPS.

The CPS, working with the Tarian Regional Economic Crime Unit, used powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, to secure the High Court Civil Recovery Order (CRO) against a convicted computer hacker.

Police, acting on intelligence, executed search warrants at the family home and a black book containing twelve “recovery seeds” was seized. This enabled the police to re-construct a digital wallet which contained a large amount of cryptocurrency. Two further recovery seeds were located, leading to police seizing a further smaller amount of cryptocurrency from another digital wallet.

CPS started a civil recovery investigation, as the evidence showed that the cryptocurrency was obtained prior to and in connection with the original hacking offences and applied for a non-conviction-based property freezing order to preserve the assets for recovery. The hacker consented to a CRO being made, forfeiting all the cryptocurrency with more than £750,000 being paid to public funds.

Adrian Foster, Head of CPS Proceeds of Crime Division, said: “The CPS is committed to depriving criminals of their ill-gotten gains and will use the Director of Public Prosecution’s civil powers to do so even where criminal proceedings are not brought.

“This criminal thought that he had managed to hide his crypto but, working with law enforcement, we were able to locate, seize and recovery this tainted property so that he could not benefit from his illicit wealth on release from prison.”

The proceeds of crime can be recovered in civil proceedings in the High Court against property which can be shown to be the proceeds of crime. Civil Recovery can be used when it is not possible to obtain a conviction or a conviction is obtained but a confiscation order is not made or the public interest will be better served by using civil recovery rather than by seeking a confiscation order.

This will include where suspects have gone abroad to escape an investigation or the offending has taken place overseas so cannot be prosecuted in UK courts.

The CPS Proceeds of Crime Division sits within the Serious Economic and Organised Crime International Directorate (SEOCID).

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