Louis Meza, the kingpin of a criminal gang that succeeded in kidnapping and stealing more than $1.8 million worth of Ethereum altcoin from their victim earlier in the year, has pleaded guilty to all charges leveled against him, according to a press release by the Manhattan District court on September 5, 2018.
Guilty as Charged
As stated in the news release, the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. has announced the guilty plea of Louis Meza, the fraudster that masterminded the kidnap and robbery of a cryptocurrency big whale, carting away with $1.8 million worth of Ether in November 2017.
Meza has reportedly pleaded guilty in the New York State Supreme Court to the charges of Grand Larceny and kidnapping.
The gangster would now be sentenced on September 27, 2018, but the prison term is yet to be revealed.
A Landmark Cryptocrime Conviction
The District Attorney in charge of the case described Meza’s conviction as a landmark event, considering the seemingly unregulated nature of the cryptospace. In his words:
“Louis Meza orchestrated a 21st-century stick-up. Then 21st-century investigators brought him swiftly to justice, securing a landmark conviction in an undeveloped area of the law.”
On November 4, 2017, Meza conspired with his friends Colon, Guzman and Nunez to kidnap and rob one of his acquaintances who had roughly $1.8 million in his Ether wallet.
According to court documents, Meza arranged a meeting with the victim, and once the meeting ended, he told the victim he had ordered a taxi to take the victim to his house.
Unbeknownst to the victim, Meza had already planted his gang members inside the fake taxi.
Meza’s three accomplices, Guzman, Colon, and Nunez executed the mission neatly. Colon held the hodler at gunpoint and demanded his mobile phone, wallet password, and house keys.
Colon handed the victim’s house keys along with his cryptocurrency wallet details to Meza and Guzman who ransacked his house for the location of his wallet passphrase. With that, Meza successfully transferred the coins to his wallet.
Crypto-linked Kidnapping on the Rise
While the cases of hacks and cryptocurrency exchange heists are quite regular occurrences in the digital currency space, bad actors have also started kidnapping and robbing crypto holders for their cryptoassets.
Back in January 2018, reports emerged that a Russian couple on vacation in Thailand had been robbed of nearly $100K worth of bitcoins.