Former Cryptopia employee pleads guilty to stealing $170K in crypto

cryptopia employee

A former employee of the now-defunct Cryptopia exchange has admitted to stealing $171,969 worth of crypto. A report unveiled this news on July 5, noting that the ex-employee appeared before Judge Gerard Lynch of the Christchurch District Court on Monday. The court decided to keep his name undisclosed temporarily.

According to the report, the man pled guilty to two charges through the advice of his lawyer Allister Davis. These are theft by a person in a special relationship and the theft of more than $1,000. Following his admission to these crimes, Judge Lynch ruled that he should be convicted and remanded on bail, awaiting sentencing on October 20.

Detailing how he came to steal the funds, the man said he made unauthorized copies of private keys belonging to Cryptopia’s numerous wallets and saved the data on a USB storage device. He then uploaded the data on his personal computer at home. This gave him access to thousands of wallets and over $100 million in various cryptocurrencies.

The man returned some of the stolen crypto

While it remains unknown when he started swiping crypto from the exchange, the first sign of foul play was on September 3, 2020, where a former Cryptopia client contacted accounting firm Grant and Thornton, saying that he had deposited Bitcoin (BTC/USD) into an old Cryptopia wallet and requested a refund.

To solve this issue, the accounting firm reviewed Cryptopia’s transactions and found that someone had illegally withdrawn 13 BTC. At the time, the 13 BTC were worth $165,000. After finding out that his dealings had been discovered, the former employee of the exchange contacted Grant Thornton’s David Ruscoe and Tom Aspin and confessed to stealing the BTC. On top of this, he added that he had stolen an additional $7,000 in another undisclosed cryptocurrency.

He then contacted the accounting firm and promised to return six of the 13 BTC and promised to pay back the remainder if Cryptopia does not charge him. He then returned the BTC and texted his partners, saying he had given back the coins, adding that he would be okay, seeing as his gesture of returning the coins was appreciated.

This news comes after Cryptopia suffered a significant hack in 2019 that ultimately led to its liquidation later that year. While authorities have been searching for the hackers behind the hack, they found that the man is unrelated to the hack.

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