With Friends Like These
Technology might be getting smarter, but the same cannot be said of criminals. If the allegations against Louis Meza are proven correct, the 35-year-old committed one of the most brazen and unsophisticated robberies imaginable. Millions of dollars of ether were stolen after Meza lured his supposed friend into a van and had his accomplice point a pistol at him. Due to the nature of blockchains, police were able to easily follow the flow of stolen ether, which reportedly showed up in the accused’s account the next day.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. stated in court that the case demonstrates “the increasingly common intersection between cyber and violent crime,” the NY Daily News reports. In reality, it shows nothing of the short. All the case demonstrates is that violent crooks will do what violent crooks do best: go for the easiest low hanging fruit. In this case it was cryptocurrency, but had the accused’s assets been in the form of gold, dollars, or Air Jordan sneakers, there’s every likelihood they would have befallen a similar fate.
What is indisputable however is that the sharp rise in value of cryptocurrency this year has turned former friends and acquaintances into targets for the unscrupulous. Cases such as this illustrate the need to keep the extent of one’s cryptocurrency portfolio private. What may be a modest amount now has the potential to turn into a windfall in future, leaving individuals vulnerable to theft. The case also illustrates the the danger of the five dollar wrench attack, as recently noted by news.Bitcoin.com: the notion that even the strongest password in the world is no match for an angry man wielding a gun or wrench.
After being arraigned at Manhattan Supreme Court, Meza pled not guilty to grand larceny, kidnapping, and robbery, and was held on a $1 million bond, with bail set at $500,000 cash. Manhattan Supreme Court does not accept cryptocurrency.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and New York Daily News.