Aussie cop accused of stealing 81 Bitcoin during raid: Report

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The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) of Australia has accused a federal police officer of wiping a Trezor hardware wallet containing 81.62 Bitcoin at a crime scene. The authorities relied on crypto tracing software to allege that he transferred the Bitcoin into his own possession.

According to a recent report, the Australian police found the hardware wallet during a drug raid at a residence but waited about three weeks to obtain court permission to access it. However, upon accessing the wallet, there was no Bitcoin (BTC) at all, as federal agent William Wheatley allegedly transferred it out shortly after the raid.

The hardware wallet allegedly had 81.62 Bitcoin, valued at $309,000 at the time of the raid in 2019. However, it is worth approximately $4.2 million at the time of publication.

Detective Sergeant Deon Achtypis of the cybercrime squad indicated that authorities initially believed an crime syndicate associate was responsible for the Bitcoin theft.

Related: South Korean authorities raid Upbit, Bithumb crypto exchanges after political scandal

The suspicion came about as the police force also discovered a device containing the seed phrase to the hardware wallet, which is a sequence of 12 to 24 random words that can be used as a recovery method in case the wallet is stolen or lost.

However, after an extensive investigation into IP addresses used to access the stolen Bitcoin using crypto tracing software, Achtypis allegedly found a link to Wheatley.

“I formed the opinion that a police member may have been involved in the movement of the cryptocurrency.”

Enforcement authorities around the world are adopting crypto-tracing software to tackle illicit activity with digital assets. 

In August 2023, Canadian law enforcement announced it had started using Chainalysis Reactor software to help trace illicit crypto transactions.

Furthermore, advancements in crypto detective software technology are leading to a higher rate of recovered stolen crypto. On Jan. 29, Cointelegraph reported that over $674 million was recovered from more than 600 large-scale crypto hacks in 2023.

Meanwhile, Wheatley is pleading innocent against accusations of exploiting his position as a public officer for personal gain, theft and involvement with proceeds of crime.

He is reportedly prepared to contest the charges regarding the stolen Bitcoin from the Trezor wallet. This comes amid Trezor’s acknowledgment of a security breach affecting nearly 66,000 users.

On Jan. 20, Cointelegraph reported that Trezor disclosed unauthorized entry into a third-party support portal on Jan. 17. The company warned that individuals who had engaged with Trezor’s support team since December 2021 might have had their data compromised in the incident.

Magazine: $3.4B of Bitcoin in a popcorn tin: The Silk Road hacker’s story