Three crooks that stole $1.8 million in cryptocurrency in a violent heist are now facing up to 25 years in jail in a New York court.
To say that cryptocurrency has skyrocketed in value over the last few years is an understatement. For example, Ethereum went from around $2.50 in early February 2016 to a staggering $480 in late November 2017. This rise in value is great for those who hodl, but it also captures the attention of criminal elements.
Last November, a man was robbed of roughly $1.8 million from his Ether account. The main culprit was Louis Meza, who was arrested last December for the crime. Since then, the majority of the stolen cryptocurrency has been returned to the victim.
The crypto heist was the brainchild of Meza, who knew the victim. To pull off the crime, Meza sought the help of three more individuals: Allan Nunez, Darrell Colon, and Cesar Guzman. Meza recruited Guzman to help him plan the crime, and it’s interesting to note that Guzman is a paraprofessional for the city’s Department of Education. It was Guzman who brought Nunez, a church worker, and Colon, a member of his motorcycle club, on board.
The crime went down in the following manner. Meza supposedly sent for an Uber to take the victim home. Nunez, driving a minivan, posed as the Uber driver while Colon hid in the rear of the vehicle. When the victim got into the minivan, Colon pulled a gun on the victim and demanded his keys and the information needed to get into the cryptocurrency account.
The criminals put a hood on the victim and kept him prisoner inside the minivan for two hours. Eventually, the victim managed to escape and get to a grocery store where he called 911.
Caught on Tape
Meza and Guzman broke into the victim’s house while he was being held hostage, and surveillance video clearly showed Meza leaving the residence with a black box (which contained the memory stick).
Guzman, Nunez, and Colon are now facing multiple charges in a court of law. The defense is arguing that Guzman should be given a lower bail as he runs a neighborhood charity and cares for an autistic nephew.
In the end, the judge ordered the three defendants to be held on bail amounts of $50,000 (Nunez), $75,000 (Colon), and $100,000 (Guzman). All three criminals pleaded not guilty. If they are convicted of kidnapping, grand larceny, and other assorted charges, they each face up to 25 years in prison.
Overall, this is a crazy cryptocurrency case. It just shows that it’s often hard to determine if a person is good or bad. One criminal is a church worker while another works for the local Department of Education and runs a charity. For all those crypto millionaires out there, be careful who you brag to about your wealth.
Do you think the three defendants will be found guilty? Do you keep your cryptocurrency assets quiet? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of The New York Post and Shutterstock.