Three of Cryptocurrency Heist Pleads Not Guilty
Three cyber criminals who were involved in an elaborate heist of $1.8 million digital currency pleaded that they are not guilty of charges slapped on them. This included an education department staffer and a church worker. The trio is facing charges of kidnapping, grand larceny, and other charges and faces a maximum of 25 years in jail if the court founds them to be guilty. In the current year alone, more than $1 billion worth of digital currencies were stolen.
According to New York Post, Louis Meza, aged 35, has allegedly organized a scheme on November 4 last year. He was arrested later in May for the theft. He was accused of establishing a meeting with an unidentified victim then. The prosecutors said that he pretended to order an Uber to take him home whereas Allan Nunez, who was also in the similar age group, posed as a driver of the cab.
The third person, Darrell Colon, has hidden on the minivan’s back. As soon as the victim entered the cab, Colon has pulled a gun and demanded a memory stick connected with his Ether currency account and the keys. Colon told investigators that “I stuck the gun in the guy’s ribs and took his stuff.” The accused has confirmed that the weapon was a BB gun.
The trio has frightened the victim and held him as a captive for two hours inside the van with a hood on his head before the victim has started to escape. This was disclosed before the Manhattan Supreme Court by an Assistant District Attorney, James Vinocur. The prosecutor also pointed out that the victim was on the run until he reached a grocery store and called 911 for help. He was a terrified lot and ran two blocks.
Meza felt that he could recruit his friend, Cesar Guzman, who was working as a DOE professional so that they could plan the heist. On the other hand, Guzman, at the age of 38, has enlisted a church worker, Nunez, apart from Colon from his motorcycle club. Even as the victim was trapped inside the van, Guzman and Meza have broken into the victim’s house.
Incidentally, Meza was accused of stealing data with the purpose of moving the funds to his personal account. However, authorities indicated that they were able to recover most of the stolen digital currency.
Guzman Lawyer, Michael Barsky, has argued for a reasonable bail for his client citing that he is managing a neighborhood charity apart from taking care of his autistic nephew. Similarly, Nunez lawyer, Rob Georges, has sought a bail pointing out the case involving movie magnate Harvey Weinstein for the alleged sex assault.
Georges also pointed out that the disgraced producer was given a bail package terming it as a pre-arranged one. However, the Justice, Melissa Jackson, did not want to compare the two cases. Instead, the Judge ordered bail for Nunez on $50,000 and Colon on $75,000 while Guzman faced $100,000. The three cyber criminals could face a maximum of 25 years in jail if the court finds them of committing the frauds.