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CryptoJacker Charles Parks’ Potential 50 Year Sentence for $3.5M Theft Compared to SBF’s 25 Year for $8B

Last Updated April 16, 2024 10:02 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated April 16, 2024 10:02 AM
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • A man named Charles Parks (CP3O) is accused of running a large-scale cryptojacking operation.
  • Parks created fake identities and manipulated cloud services to gain access to high-powered computing and avoid paying for it.
  • This allowed him to mine cryptocurrencies like Ether, Litecoin, and Monero.
  • Parks faces charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and illegal money transactions.

Charles Parks, charged with orchestrating a $3.5 million cryptojacking scheme, faces a potential 50-year prison sentence.

On the other hand,  Sam Bankman-Fried is serving a 25-year prison sentence for his role in a $8 billion fraud. The disparity in potential sentences raises questions about sentencing guidelines and the valuation of digital crimes.

Massive Fraud Operation Uncovered in Cryptojacking Case

The Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office has charged Charles O. Parks III, alias “CP3O,” with wire fraud and money laundering related to a substantial cryptojacking operation that allegedly defrauded  two prominent cloud computing providers out of $3.5 million.

Parks is accused  of using this elaborate scheme to illicitly mine cryptocurrencies worth approximately $970,000. These include Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero, where he exploited the resources of these companies without compensation.

Cryptojacking involves the unauthorized use of someone else’s computing power to mine cryptocurrency. Typically, perpetrators use malware to inject secretive mining software into the victim’s infrastructure. This means they hijack a small amount of resources from a large network of computers.

According to the indictment, from January to August 2021, Parks used various false identities, corporate affiliations, and email addresses to create multiple accounts with subsidiaries of two major companies based in Seattle, Washington, and Redmond, Washington.

He reportedly  manipulated these services into granting him elevated privileges, including higher levels of cloud computing services and deferred billing, which he then exploited to conduct his mining activities.

Legal Repercussions and Allegations of Money Laundering

Upon detection of unusual data usage and growing unpaid balances, the cloud providers confronted Parks. After that, he allegedly deflected their inquiries, but Parks was arrested  on April 13 in Nebraska. Parks faces multiple charges, including engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.

If convicted  on all counts, he could receive up to 50 years in prison. Furthermore, the indictment details how Parks purportedly laundered the proceeds of his cryptojacking through various avenues. His alleged methods include a cryptocurrency exchange that operates as a decentralized entity without a fixed headquarters, and using transactions structured to evade federal reporting requirements.

Notably, he also allegedly laundered funds through a New York City-based non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace.

Implications and Official Statements

The case highlights growing concerns around the misuse of technology for fraudulent activities. Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace emphasized the commitment of his office to prosecuting individuals who leverage advanced technologies to commit traditional frauds.

This case not only sheds light on the evolving nature of cybercrimes but also serves as a warning to other potential fraudsters about the serious consequences of such illegal activities. The alleged extravagant purchases made by Parks, including luxury vehicles and jewelry, underline the significant profits that can motivate such complex fraud schemes.

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