Bitcoin Phishing Scheme Perpetrator Pleads Guilty in Connecticut Court

A Connecticut resident has pleaded guilty to charges that he stole more than $300,000 in bitcoin as part of a phishing scheme.

Jun 29, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:29 p.m. UTC

A Connecticut resident pleaded guilty this week to fraud and money laundering offenses committed as part of an elaborate effort to steal cryptocurrency.

In Hartford Federal Court on Tuesday, 35-year-old Michael Richo of Wallingford, Connecticut, admitted to stealing $365,000 in bitcoin  through a phishing scheme in which he posted fraudulent links designed to resemble popular dark market websites, according to a release from the US Department of Justice.

Prosecutors found he later used this information to monitor the bitcoin accounts and balances of victims. Richo admitted he stole over 10,000 usernames and passwords in such a method, using these to sell the victims' assets on bitcoin exchange platforms for US currency.

No details were provided as to the nature of the accounts that were compromised, and whether they were software wallets (in which the users controlled their funds) or hosted wallet services (where the bitcoins in question were maintained by a company).

Still, the guilty plea advances a case that began when Richo was arrested last October on charges of computer fraud, wire fraud and identity theft. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of device fraud – charges that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years of imprisonment.

Richo is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

Gavel and handcuffs image via Shutterstock

The Festival for the Decentralized World
Thursday - Sunday, June 9-12, 2022
Austin, Texas
Save a Seat Now

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
First Mover Asia: Terra's Difficult Post-Collapse Path: VCs Backing Away, Regulators Jumping on Stablecoins

Some investors see salvageable pieces in the rubble while others are bemoaning their involvement and want to forget the protocol ever existed; bitcoin edges up in weekend trading.

Some investors see salvageable pieces in the rubble while others are bemoaning their involvement and want to forget the protocol ever existed; bitcoin edges up in weekend trading.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
China Can’t Seem to Stop Bitcoin Mining

Reported hashrate fell to zero for two months in China last year, but it has since returned rather abruptly.

Reported hashrate fell to zero for two months in China last year, but it has since returned rather abruptly.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
Could Local Digital Currencies Improve Communities?

That's the argument of the president of the RadicalxChange Foundation.

That's the argument of the president of the RadicalxChange Foundation.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
After the Terra Meltdown: What's Next for Stablecoins?

The largest token collapse in crypto history. So let Luna die.

The largest token collapse in crypto history. So let Luna die.

CoinDesk - Unknown