According to an official statement by the UK Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), a 35-year-old woman was arrested on 12 August by detectives from the Met’s Proactive Money Laundering Team for controlling a large amount of fraudulently obtained Bitcoin. At the time of the arrest, the suspect had Bitcoin amounting to about $150,000 in the wallet.
Detectives began the investigation after finding that several mule bank accounts received funds for fake applications from government-subsidized loans known as the ‘Bounce Back Loans’, small business support projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fraud Trail
After fraudulently obtaining the money from the government fund, these sums of money were transferred from the mule accounts to the suspect’s cryptocurrency wallet and the funds used to purchase Bitcoin. On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Police Service, together with a number of Suffolk Constabulary Proactive Crime Team officers, proceeded to search the house in Ipswich after securing a search warrant.
Subsequently, Team searched the residential address in Ipswich where several children were found alone at the residence, and the suspect was found nearby and was detained for child abandonment, money laundering and fraud. The woman was taken to a police station where she was interviewed and released after a while awaiting further investigation.
Metropolitan police officers went ahead and successfully submitted an application for the confiscation of the fraudulent Bitcoin held in the crypto wallet of the suspect.
Sergeant Ian Barrett urges the public to remain vigilant
Detective Sergeant Ian Barrett, who is also part of the money laundering team, urged the public to be more cautious about their private as well as any banking information they share online. If they feel like their bank accounts are being used, they should inform their service provider or action fraud immediately.
Additionally, he noted that it was horrible for people to take advantage of government assistance; provided to people who need it during difficult times. Furthermore, he affirmed that the Metropolitan Police Service is dedicated to combat organized financial crimes; and arrest the criminals by teaming up with organizations in the regulated financial sector and law enforcement.