What does the hunt for two missing laptops and a gold necklace get you? The confession from a computer hacker that he stole between $40 and $50 million worth of bitcoin.
A 30-year-old man from Montgomery County confessed to law enforcement, when they followed a trail that ended at his home, claiming that he was behind one of the largest digital currency heists.
According to Theodore Price of Hatfield, he informed a local detective and a Homeland Security agent, who were investigating a burglary at Bucks County, that he undertook the virtual heist after writing the software to steal the tens of millions of dollars worth in bitcoin. He said had had purchased stolen personal information and credit card numbers from a dark web store using bitcoin.
In a report from The Morning Call, Price was planning on fleeing to London on a chartered jet using a fake passport and taking the name of Avengers movie star Jeremy Renner, who plays Hawkeye.
Emin Gun Sirer, Cornell University computer science professor, said that if Price’s confession is true it would rank among the top five digital currency thefts; however, he adds that it’s unusual that the identity of the person responsible was revealed by authorities.
This is one of the first cases where the person behind the malware has been located.
According to the complaint, Price is alleged to have written the software that mimics the code used to create bitcoin wallets. Price is then thought to have sent this software to specific sites where it filtered into email addresses. The objective of the software, according to Price, was to steal bitcoin keys and then replace them with Price’s wallets.
Interestingly, while a court document had been filed last week charging Price with unauthorized access to a computer in order to commit a federal crime for personal financial gain, that charge has since been withdrawn. However, as The Morning Call reports, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Bonney failed to say why the charge had been removed when Price had admitted to the bitcoin theft.
Bucks County police had initially started investigating Price after his girlfriend’s parents returned home from vacation only to find that two of their laptops and a gold necklace were missing. When Price’s girlfriend confronted him, as he had access to their home, he denied it.
Court records state that a search of two laptop bags found by Price’s girlfriend revealed her mother’s computer, stolen credit cards from the family and dark web credit card information.
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