The New York County District Attorney's Office has filed armed robbery and kidnapping charges against a man alleged to have been involved in the theft of more than $1.8 million worth of ether, the cryptocurrency of the ethereum network.
Louis Meza, the DA's office said yesterday, is being charged with grand larceny, kidnapping, robbery and criminal use of a firearm in connection with the Nov. 4 of an unnamed victim in New York. The charges were filed in the New York State Supreme Court.
Prosecutors allege that Meza met with the victim, knowing they possessed the ether holdings and arranged to a car service for them after that meeting. According to the indictment, an as-yet-named individual connected to the crime was hiding in the vehicle, at which point they "demanded that the victim turn over his cell phone, wallet, and keys while holding the victim at gunpoint."
From there, Meza allegedly went to the victim's apartment where they stole the ethers, according to the DA's office.
The office explained yesterday:
"Video surveillance later obtained from the victim's apartment building showed MEZA using the set of keys stolen from the victim to enter the victim's apartment and then leave the apartment holding a box believed to contain the victim's digital wallet. Additional records reveal that soon after obtaining the victim's digital wallet, the defendant then transferred approximately $1.8 million in Ether to his own personal account."
On top of the kidnapping and robbery charges, Meza was also charged with criminal possession of stolen property, computer tampering and computer trespass.
In statements, District Attorney Cyrus Vance speculated that additional crimes of this nature could occur in the future, citing growing prices in the cryptocurrency market.
"We can expect this type of crime to become increasingly common as cryptocurrency values surge upward," said Vance.
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