Updated: Apr 29, 2020
It might have been Sherlock Holmes making one of his signature statements,
“There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you.”
It’s the case of Grant West, a 25-year old British hacker who used the name “Courvoisier” as his online persona. He hacked multiple companies, stole their data, and resold it on the Dark Web netting him a windfall in ill-gotten financial gains.
Proceeds from his crime spree included about $700,000 worth of Bitcoin that was seized by law enforcement. West pled guilty to charges including computer misuse, drug offenses, and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Cryptocurrencies are financial and technology inventions that present emerging challenges to law enforcement and financial regulatory agencies around the world as they carry out their obligations. Generally, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can circumvent international financial regulations and sovereign law. These virtual currency systems often lack a centralized intermediary to oversee and maintain transaction data. They also provide greater anonymity, or at least pseudonymity, to the users of these digital assets.
As a result, it is difficult for law enforcement to detect possible illegal transactions and prosecute the individuals behind criminal behavior, such as:
Operating Red Rooms
Administrating Web Marketplaces
Buying and Selling of Illegal Weapons
Bypassing International Sanctions
The majority of cryptocurrencies are decentralized while some are centralized. There is one thing that they do have in stock they don’t physically exist.
Law enforcement officials are developing new policies and procedures on how to lawfully seize ill-gotten cryptocurrency gains. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published a guide in June 2014 to provide law enforcement with specific guidelines. It describes in detail how bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be detected, investigated, and seized.
It also explains how it can be used as evidence in the prosecution of crimes involving cryptocurrency.