crime

Man arrested in Sharjah for Dh2m Bitcoin fraud

Police warn residents from trading in virtual currency with anonymous internet sources

19:18 February 12, 2018
NAT 180212 BITCOIN

Sharjah: The Criminal Investigation Department at Sharjah Police recovered more than Dh2 million in a Bitcoin fraud.

According to Sharjah Police, the crime is the first of its kind in the emirate.

The suspect, of Pakistani nationality, and his compatriot who is based outside the country, convinced an Indian man to part with Dh2,000,500  for the purchase of Bitcoin currency. The victim told the police that he had already bought Bitcoin online several times. As they had proved lucrative, he had surfed websites for similar deals and came across an online trader based in an Asian country.

He contacted the man and agreed to buy Bitcoins worth Dh2,000,500 from him.

The online trader asked the victim to hand over the money to a Pakistani man identified as S.J.M., who lived in Sharjah, who would in turn transfer the Bitcoin money to the victim’s account.

The victim met S.J.M. at a coffee shop in a Sharjah mall who told him that he would complete the process via his laptop which he had with him. He then pretended to transfer the Bitcoins. He then told the victim that he needed to step out to the car park for a few minutes to see his wife who was waiting in the car as she was in some kind of trouble. Saying he would return soon, he left the coffee shop.

When the suspect didn’t return, the victim called him on his mobile phone several times only to find it switched off.

He then immediately reported the issue to the police operation room who rushed to the scene.

The police identified the suspect, raided his residence and arrested him. They found most of the stolen money in his possession in addition to receipts of partial money transactions from the amount to his partner based outside the country.

The suspect confessed to his crime and his case has been referred to the public prosecution.

Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Hassan Al Shamisi, Head of Criminal and Investigation section at Sharjah Police, warned people from engaging in unsafe trading operations in virtual currency based on insufficient knowledge. He also warned people against dealing with anonymous people on the internet.