British Cryptocurrency App Developer Loses 0K to Gambling-hungry Embezzler
As if dealing with the recent and massive drop in cryptocurrency prices wasn’t enough, a company that facilitates crypto transactions faces losses due to embezzlement. An independent account manager in Ireland faces charges of stealing €460,000 (US$473,248) to feed his booze- and gambling-filled lifestyle.
UK-based Light Technology Limited operates Transak, a platform that allows users to buy and sell crypto through any app or website. In order to grow the platform, it employed a third-party company to provide certain resources.
One of these resources was Niall Ryan of Dublin, Ireland. He has been working as an account manager for Transak as it continued to grow. However, he decided the money he collected from new Transak customers would serve him better than it would the company.
Ryan reportedly started off on the right foot with the company. He was managing invoicing and commission payments to Transak’s customers and business partners. However, before long, he decided to start redirecting the company’s assets.
Internal audits determined that the amount Ryan should have been collecting didn’t match what the company received. As a result, Light Technology took a closer look at his activity. It discovered that, since, he had been embezzling funds.
As an account manager, Ryan was responsible for creating the invoices Transak sent to some of its customers. However, instead of putting the company’s cryptocurrency wallet addresses on the invoices for remittance, he was listing his own.
It’s an easy swap to make that is almost imperceptible to most people. The wallet address is a unique routing code containing numbers and letters that only its creator knows (although forensics science has helped crack more than a few). It looks similar to a bank routing number, and there is no data in the address that identifies the wallet holder.
After the company realized what was happening and determined how much it was missing, it confronted Ryan. He admitted to the theft and blamed it on his alcohol and gambling addictions.
Simultaneously, he apologized and said that he wanted to pay the money back. Light Technology, however, didn’t believe him. Instead, it uncovered additional details about Ryan’s actions that had it scrambling for immediate results.
Light Technology had to request an emergency hearing in court in order to have Ryan’s assets frozen. As his run was coming to an end, he apparently began telling the company’s clients that he was leaving the business. At the same time, he allegedly began erasing emails and other data that may have helped build a case against him.
The court fulfilled the request, but a deep freeze on all of Ryan’s accounts won’t be easy. While the order legally prevents him from accessing or moving the funds in his crypto wallets, it’s possible Ryan already moved funds into untraceable destinations.
However, the order is in place. As the case continues and he faces criminal charges, the judge ordered him to maintain assets worth at least the value of the embezzlement. The judge, Light Technology and Ryan will return to the courtroom next week to continue the battle.
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