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Bitcoin scams have been rampant since the market started gaining popularity. Since its over a decade-long existence, there has been an uncountable number of scams. Some of these scams have become well-known that most people do not fall for them again. But others have evolved to be harder to spot. Hiding in the shadows so the victims do not even suspect that they are the subject of an attack. This is what happened in the case of an American man, who lost 16.24552 bitcoins, almost $1 million, to teens in the U.K.
How The Loss Happened
Andrew Schober is a Colorado resident who had accumulated a reasonable number of bitcoins. An avid Redditor, Schober had followed cryptocurrencies on the site. This is where he came across a link to download a Bitcoin wallet. Schober clicked the link and download the Electrum Atom Bitcoin wallet, in what was seemingly a straightforward process.
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Unknown to him, Schober had also picked up a piece of clipboard hijacking malware from this download. This malware then went on to redirect Schober’s 16.4552 BTC to a wallet that was owned by two teenagers who lived in the U.K. At the time of the theft, the coins were worth £146,800.
Tracking Down The Bitcoin
This amount was a significant part of Schober’s wealth, making up about 95% of his entire network. As was quoted in a letter sent to the teen’s parents by Schober, this was both “financially and emotionally devastating.”
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While most people would cut their losses and consider it a lost cause, Schober didn’t give up hope. He went on to spend around three years and approximately $10,000 on experts who had helped him track down who the wallet belonged to. After a long search, Schober finally got conclusive evidence that pointed to Benedict Thomspson and Oliver Read, two teenagers, now adults, living in the U.K. at the time of the theft, as the culprits.
Too Young To Sue
The age of the perpetrators at the time of the theft made them juveniles, which meant that Schober couldn’t sue them directly for the money. So now Schober is suing the parents of the culprits for the total amount of bitcoin lost, which has risen to nearly $1 million at this point.
Current BTC price puts present value of the stolen funds at almost $1 million | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
Schober had not gone directly to suing. First, he had sent a heartfelt letter to the parents of the culprits, asking them to tell their children to release the BTC that they had stolen from him. When this failed to yield any result, Schober proceeded with a lawsuit against the parents of the culprits.
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The defendants’ argument remains that the statute of limitations on the theft had elapsed. Thus making the lawsuit not viable. But none of the defendants have come out to deny that the theft had happened.
The lawsuit is currently pending. The suit lists now university students Oliver Read and Benedict Thompson, alongside their parents, as defendants in the case.
Featured image from Bitcoin Exchange Guide, chart from TradingView.com