Hebron Resident Accused of Laundering Millions From Stolen Credit Cards With Bitcoin
The Tel Aviv District Court has received today an indictment against Halmi Git, a 33-year-old from the Palestinian city of Hebron, for a wide-ranging affair involving the management of forums for the sharing and sale of stolen credit card details. His forums have allegedly involved about 1,300,000 users from around the world, leading to massive fraud.
Stealing Even From the Moon
According to the indictment, the defendant established the forums in 2008 and managed them until his arrest at the beginning of the month. The entrance to the forums was free of charge, but users could purchase a VIP status to receive stolen details of “fresh” credit cards, which are more likely to be still working. Additionally he published manuals and guides that provided information and tools on how to commit various computer offenses, remotely hacking computers and taking over remote computers or servers.
Halmi also allegedly committed crimes of fraud against users of his own forums. The defendant would offer selling cell phones at discounted prices, but once a user transferred him money he would block the user from the site and take his money without providing compensation. He would then publish a message, supposedly in the name of the deceived user, in which he thanked the defendant for providing the cheap mobile phone.
Apparently trying to convince investigators his actions were not motivated by specific malice towards Israelis, many of which were his alleged victims, Halmi is quoted as saying: “We are thieves, from wherever we can take money, we will take it – it does not matter where, from Israel, the US or even the moon, we will reach it and use it.”
1,071 BTC Seized
According to the indictment, the defendant demanded that all payments to him be made through Bitcoin, to make it more difficult to locate him. In addition, Halmi acted consistently to disguise his identity by technological means, made many money transfers between different Bitcoin wallets for the purpose of covering his tracks, used online masking services to distance himself from his various accounts, and recorded parts of his property in the name of his relatives.
The Israeli State Prosecutor’s Office attributes to the defendant money laundering of at least 1,071 BTC, estimated at NIS 31,000,000. During the interrogation, in a precedent-setting move, the defendant’s Bitcoin wallet was seized and the amount found in it was transferred to a police wallet. The State Prosecutor’s Office intends to confiscate all the contents of the defendant’s Bitcoin wallets, if and when he is convicted. The case was investigated by investigators of the Israeli national cyber unit at Lahav 433.
The offenses with which Halmi is charged are: credit card fraud under aggravated circumstances (multiple offenses), receiving a thing fraudulently under aggravated circumstances, providing means for committing a crime, violating the Computers Law and money laundering.
What should be the punishment for such an alleged crime? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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