Fleeting are the days where criminals storm a bank in search of vast riches. Today's most notorious criminals are taking to the online world. Reports indicate that over $1 billion dollars in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are stolen each year. Digital currencies are usually stolen through various forms of hacks, scams, and fraudulent activities.
Some well-publicized defendants have hacked their way into a wide array of cryptocurrency accounts, stealing more than $500 million. Law enforcement managed to catch that cybercriminal, and they catch many others. If you are one of the increasing number of individuals charged with cryptocurrency theft, contact an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney immediately for assistance. Crypto-related crimes are generally charged at the federal level, so ensure your attorney is licensed to practice in front of federal courts.What are Cryptocurrency Theft Charges?
Generally, regulation of the digital currency industry has been best characterized as slow, stagnant, or nonexistent. State and local police may investigate, and prosecutors may bring charges if they detect wrongdoing in their jurisdiction, but this is rare. Most state and local governments have taken a completely hands-off approach against crypto thieves.
Enforcement actions usually take place at the federal level. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has begun implementing regulations to protect users against crypto theft and scams. Even still, there is no law specifically covering the theft of cryptocurrencies. Instead, charges will be filed under existing laws, such as:
- Grand Theft - A defendant is guilty of this crime if they intentionally take someone else's property, without the owner's consent, and the defendant then keeps the property. In a cryptocurrency context, this looks like the defendant stealing the victim's Bitcoin.
- Computer Crimes - Including hacking, computer fraud, and computer abuse. This usually looks like a defendant accessing someone else's computer without consent or authority.
- Other Crimes - Defendants may also be charged with phishing crimes, fraud, ransomware, unlawful use of malware, unlawful mining, and more.
In most investigations, it appears the federal government compiles evidence against individuals who may have participated in the unlawful gain of cryptocurrency. For example, your account may be flagged and investigated if you suddenly receive a large influx of cryptocurrency.Charged With Cryptocurrency Theft or a Related Crime?
All the crimes discussed above have serious implications, and punishments are severe. Depending on the charges, defendants may face decades in prison and hundreds of thousands in fines. Regardless of what charges you are facing, cybercrimes and cryptocurrency related cases are complicated. To receive the fairest possible treatment and best outcome, it is important to have the best team of experienced federal criminal trial attorneys by your side.
Prosecutors face a difficult uphill battle building a case against you. An experienced criminal trial attorney will assert various pre-trial motions to make the prosecution's life difficult, protecting your rights and liberties.