Ryota Fujii was arrested in Tokyo after using the credit card of a local woman to purchase ¥600,000 yen in bitcoins (approx. $5800 USD in current rates) in January 2016. Fujii also set up a bitcoin wallet with the woman’s identity, by using a photograph of the victim’s driver’s license, according to local publication Tokyo Reporter.
Fujii reportedly purported to be a money lender, successfully obtaining information and documentation from the woman. Once he set up a sham account, he transferred the bitcoins to a private account before converting it back to cash.
Another regional news outlet revealed that this case of money laundering, with bitcoin, is the first of its kind to occur in the country, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Fundamentally, Fujii used yen to purchase bitcoins before converting it back to yen in the hopes that the money trail would vanish.
Fujii has admitted to the charge of computer fraud, confirming the allegations against him.
When the police queried Fujii for the reason behind using a stolen credit card to buy bitcoin, he is quoted as saying:
I had debts to pay back.
One news outlet also revealed that Fujii was involved in using accounts with an American bitcoin exchange to facilitate the crime. U.S.-based exchanges are gaining a presence in Japan, with Coinbase making a notable recent effort. So too, has Kraken, a digital currency exchange with a foothold in Japan since 2014.
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