Prosecutors Detail Russians’ Crypto Phishing Scheme in Forfeiture Suit


The two Russians who were sanctioned earlier this week by the U.S. Treasury Department on accusations of being crypto thieves allegedly got their millions through market manipulation and phishing. 

Prosecutors detailed Danil Potekhin and Dimitrii Karasavidi’s alleged heists, victims and target exchanges in a 30-page forfeiture complaint filed Wednesday against the pair’s previously seized crypto funds.

In late October 2017, hackers pumped $5 million of one victim’s crypto into NEO’s Gas market, skyrocketing the usually sleepy token’s value 13,000% before ordering their personal gas-holding Poloniex accounts to cash out into ETH. The victim “lost virtually all of his $5 million in cryptocurrency,” prosecutors alleged.

Karasavidi and Potekhin face a mounting lineup of legal troubles. This week, they’ve been added to the Treasury Department’s OFAC blacklist and also face federal wire fraud, hacking and money laundering charges.

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