A hacker from Kent, England, has handed over almost a million quid in Bitcoin following a lengthy police investigation.
Grant West, 27, of Ashcroft Caravan Park, Sheerness, made most of the money through phishing scams targeting companies and individuals around the world since 2015. He sold financial details on and stashed the resulting Bitcoin in a variety of accounts and wallets.
West used the pseudonym Courvoisier and scammed more than 100 companies. The Bitcoin will be sold and the proceeds returned to victims, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said in a statement.
West was jailed on 25 May for 10 years and eight months, having been arrested and charged in September 2017. The confiscation order for £922,978.14 was granted today and was not contested by West.
The lengthy investigation by the Met's Cyber Crime Unit, dubbed Operation Draba, found he was running an organised crime gang mainly targeting London firms.
Between July and December 2015, West ran a phishing scam masquerading as the takeaway ordering service Just Eat. He failed to collect any financial details but cost the company £200,000.
Detectives also found evidence that West had attempted cyber attacks against the websites of 17 organisations including Sainsbury's, Nectar, Groupon, AO.com, Ladbrokes, Coral Betting, Uber, Vitality, RS Feva Class Association 2017, Asda, the British Cardiovascular Society, Mighty Deals Limited, Truly Experiences Ltd, T Mobile, M R Porter, the Finnish Bitcoin exchange and Argos.
Officers found an SD card containing 78 million individual usernames and passwords along with 63,000 credit and debit card details. The laptop he used, actually his girlfriend's, had details for 100,000 people stored in a file called "fulz".
Raids on storage units rented by West uncovered £25,000 in cash and half a kilo of cannabis – selling the drug is how West started his dark web career. He also made money by selling "how-to" guides to other online fraudsters.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud, two counts of possession of criminal property, unauthorised modification of computer material, possession of a Class-B drug with intent to supply, possession of a Class-B drug, attempting to supply a controlled drug, offering to supply a Class-B drug, and concealing/removing criminal property.
Detective Chief Inspector Kirsty Goldsmith, head of the Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) Cyber Crime Unit, said: "The MPS is committed to ensuring that individuals who are committing criminality on the Dark Web are identified, prosecuted and their criminal assets are seized.
"I wish to thank our partners within the MPS and in both public and private industry who have all assisted with this investigation which was incredibly complex and lengthy. I am very proud of my team for bringing this offender to justice and ensuring we have secured this order." ®