Singapore man pleads guilty to stealing $360K in fake Bitcoin sale

A major suspect in a high-profile theft case related to Bitcoin (BTC) trading has pleaded guilty in a Singaporean court.

Syed Mokhtar Syed Yusope, an accomplice in a $360,000 robbery, pleaded guilty in a district court to a robbery charge on Sept. 9, Singeporean news agency The Straits Times reports.

Mokhtar, alongside his two accomplices, Jaromel Gee Ming Li and Mohd Abdul Rahman Mohamad, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from a Malaysian man in Singapore. 

Pretending to represent a Bitcoin broker, the group duped the victim into believing that they wanted to sell him Bitcoin for cash. Eventually, the criminals assaulted the Malaysian man, fleeing with a backpack with $365,000 instead of providing the promised Bitcoins.

Mokhtar and Abdul were subsequently arrested by Singaporean police in early April 2018. The man reportedly spent about $80,000 on luxury goods, including a Rolex watch worth $45,800.

As reported by The Straits Times, the cases involving Mokhtar’s accomplices are still pending. The man is now out on $30,000 bail and will be sentenced on Friday. Court documents reportedly did not mention whether the authorities have managed to recover the remaining part of stolen money.

Cryptocurrency-related theft and fraud has been massively surging in recent years, up from $1.7 billion in 2018 to $4.4 billion in 2019. According to data from blockchain tracking and analytics platform, Whale Alert, scammers stole over $38 million worth of Bitcoin over the past four years.

While global authorities are trying to combat Bitcoin-related crimes, new offences keep coming in. In early September, the United States government issued a cease and decease order against an operator of two alleged crypto scam schemes. In August 2020, authorities in Hong Kong arrested three men accused of stealing 226,000 Hong Kong dollars from Bitcoin ATMs.

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