The Extortion Plot in Connecticut: Murder For Bitcoin

By
Evander Smart @EvanderSmart
February 2, 2015

A group of over one dozen Connecticut residents are living in fear these days, as they have had the lives of their families threatened by an extortion plot. It is all over the desire to obtain Bitcoin from Fairfield County residents. The anonymous letters have been received within the last week, and they are threatening to kill the recipient and/or family members unless a Bitcoin ransom is paid by February 13th. Fairfield County law enforcement and the FBI are investigating 14 potential threats, sent to residents’ homes in letters postmarked from Austin, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida.

Extortionist’s goal: $2,000 in Bitcoin per family

Here are the instructions listed to the recipients, assuming that they are not Bitcoin owners and may need detailed instructions on how to provide the digital ransom:

“[Recipient] you do not know who we are, but we have been tracking you and your loved ones for a while now. We know your schedules. We know where you all live and spend your time. We also know how to kill any one of you without being caught. Now [recipient], don’t panic. This isn’t personal. You did nothing to deserve this. You were just one of a handful of families unfortunate enough to draw our attention.

However, nobody has to die. Allow us to explain. You have until 12:00 PM on February 13, 2015 to pay us $2,000. If you do not comply with that simple demand, the following will happen: we will kill you, [recipient], or someone else to whom you are close. Or you can simply pay us the $2,000. To make the payment do the following.

1. Open an account at any online Bitcoin exchange, such as Bitstamp.net or Coinbase.com
2. Deposit $2,000 into that account. Do not wait until the last minute to do this. It will likely take you about a week to open an account, get it verified, and process the transaction.
3. Use the entire $2,000, minus whatever small fee the exchange charges, to purchase Bitcoins on the exchange. If you are unsure about the process of buying Bitcoins, Google it.
4. Withdrawal (sic) all Bitcoin you purchased to the following Bitcoin address: 19vcdWcV4J8bhH7j3igHZ5q4WGT2UX5V2S
5. Be sure to type all 34 characters of that Bitcoin address in EXACTLY. It is case sensitive. The first character is a number “one”, NOT a lowercase “L”.
6. You are finished. Breath (sic) easy, and live your life in peace knowing you will never have to deal with us again.”

Also read: Bitcoin Extortionist Swatting Cryptographers

Why these particular Connecticut recipients were targeted is unknown. Bitcoin extortion plots aren’t common but are not unheard of. The late Hal Finney was the subject of a $400k Bitcoin extortion plot before he passed away. This personal attack went so far as to necessitate SWAT teams raiding his home while he was taking a shower.

The letters also have the names of all those living in the Redding, Farmington, and Ridgefield homes. Also included in the 14 Connecticut residents letters is a “Note to Law Enforcement”. This note reveals to the holder that the authorities will never be able to find the Bitcoin extortionists.

Images from Wikimedia.commons and Bitcoin Afilliate Network.

How would you handle such a mail threat? Can law enforcement use this Bitcoin public key address to find the criminals? Share above and comment below.

Last modified (UTC): February 2, 2015 09:34

Show comments