By Claire Gordon • 31 October 2021 • 14:20
“A sophisticated cyber fraud” helped a Lincolnshire boy of just 17 gather £2m of cryptocurrency in less than a year, a court has heard. The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, set up a fake website that tricked people into entering their details believing it was a legitimate voucher site.
The boy set up the fake website from his bedroom in April 2020 and stole £6,500 worth of vouchers through a webpage that looked just like the official site of Love2Shop. Love2Shop sell High St vouchers either through immediate transactions or Christmas saving schemes. The 17-year-old then paid for advertising on Google, meaning his fake website moved up the rankings and was displayed above the real site when people searched the name.
The fake website was taken down after a week after a complaint from a customer of Love2Shop caused an investigation. The teenager then used the funds to invest in Bitcoins and other cryptocurrency, which then ballooned in value. “At the time they were worth £200,000. They are now worth a little over £2million,” said Sam Skinner, prosecuting. The following police investigation then found 12,000 credit card numbers stored on the boy’s computer and details of 197 paypal accounts. The teenager has admitted charges of money laundering and fraud.
Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight ruled that he had benefitted by £2,141,720, and ordered that amount to be confiscated from his cryptocurrency assets. “If he were an adult he would be going inside”, she said. Instead, he was given a 12-month suspended sentence. She told the defendant: “You have a long-standing interest in computers. Unfortunately, you used your skills to commit a sophisticated fraud.”
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