A New Jersey male has admitted stealing cryptocurrency worth almost two million dollars using the old-fashioned way – kidnapping and issuing threats of violence.
In the Manhattan Supreme Court, Louis Meza confessed to kidnapping an unnamed friend and then stealing his Ether cryptocurrency holdings worth US$1.8 million. Specifically, Meza admitted second-degree kidnapping and first-degree grand larceny. Meza’s sentencing is scheduled at the end of this month and the 35-year-old man is expected to receive a jail time of 10 years as well as half a decade of post-release supervision.
According to the New York Post, Meza’s new-age heist met its match in the form of New Jersey’s investigators.
“Louis Meza orchestrated a 21st-century stick-up. Then 21st-century investigators brought him swiftly to justice, securing a landmark conviction in an undeveloped area of the law,” Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan District Attorney, said in a statement.
The Three Amigos
As previously reported by CCN, Meza conducted the crypto-heist with the assistance of three co-defendants – Darrel ‘Bishop’ Colon, Allen ‘Joke’ Nunez and Cesar ‘Fuego’ Guzman. After Meza learnt of his friend’s vast cryptocurrency holdings he hired the three to assist him in kidnapping the crypto millionaire.
According to prosecutors, Meza held a meeting with the crypto millionaire on November 4 last year in Times Square before he insisted that his old friend take an Uber back to his home in Manhattan. Conveniently, the crypto millionaire was directed to a waiting minivan being driven by Joke. Bishop, meanwhile, was hiding in the back seat.
‘Your Password or Your Life’
As the vehicle approached Uptown Manhattan Bishop pounced and using a BB gun, demanded that the crypto millionaire hand over his valuables including his house keys and the password to his cryptocurrency wallet. These were then given to Meza and Fuego.
Moments later, per evidence obtained from video surveillance cameras, Meza gained entry into crypto millionaire’s apartment and stole a box which allegedly contained the hardware cryptocurrency wallet with the Ether holdings. Meza then transferred the digital assets worth more than US$1.8 million at the time to his wallet. The crypto millionaire was eventually able to escape and report the incident to the police.
Under the plea agreement that Meza inked with prosecutors, Meza will not only serve time in jail but he will also forfeit 84 bitcoins and 269,000 SALT lending tokens. However, Meza declined to cooperate against his co-accused in the plea agreement. Fuego, Joke and Bishop were indicted in June this year and their case is still ongoing.