The more popular that cryptocurrencies and their usage gets, the more creative ways to exploit them are brought to light – even if said operations had been going on for years before discovery.
In the latest instance of such a nature, it was reported that a fake ID ring that accepted payments in Bitcoin was busted by the authorities, and $4.7 million in Bitcoin were recovered and seized from the operation.
According to an AP report from The New York Times, the fake ID ring that was based in Toledo, Ohio, allegedly marketed itself on Reddit where it reached out to college students and offered its fake IDs in exchange for Bitcoin.
Mark Simon and Sarah Alberts, the alleged head honchos of the operation, were arrested and charged with manufacturing fake IDs as well as money laundering from Simon’s home in Toledo.
During the raid, several silver and gold coins and bars were also recovered in addition to several different computers. The computers are believed to have been utilized for the creation of fake IDs. Around $7,000 were also recovered in cash.
Details on the operation
According to court documents, the ring utilized the Reddit handle “TedDanzigSR,” through which everyday users – mostly college students – initiated contact to obtain fake IDs.
The operation first came to light in late 2015, when local authorities stumbled upon multiple fake IDs through a bar in Springfield, Ohio.
Upon further investigation, an Ohio resident, who had obtained once such fake ID as a student, informed the authorities that he had gotten it from a user on Reddit.
The Reddit account linked to the operations also provided detailed instructions to follow to obtain the fake IDs, including details on how to make anonymous purchases over the dark web which would also cover the process for these fake IDs, as well as “pricing” and “shipping” details for them.
Absurdly, the instructions also explained a rewards program, which included leaving positive reviews for the IDs purchased and received by users.
The investigators had since begun to follow the trail and were eventually able to pinpoint the operations to Simon.
This is the first news of its kind in recent times
Cryptocurrencies have had a bad reputation due to their usage in such operations in the past, thanks to the anonymity that they provide as one of the core features of the medium.
However, ever since Bitcoin’s bullish pace brought them into the limelight, news of such operations had since grown out of focus. While regulators and other authorities kept speaking of these instances that had been recorded in the past, everyday users were informed by the cryptocurrency community to believe in the financial asset’s evolution into legitimate means of transaction.
Now, this news of such a large scale fraudulent operation that was funded through Bitcoin is bound to be utilized by the naysayers of cryptocurrencies, which will no doubt allude towards the asset’s usage in illegal means.
However, it should be remembered that any technology or invention is misused only because the people involved in them find ways to do so. Having cryptocurrencies involved in these operations does not represent the “ethics” of the medium itself, just how having the dark web and the illicit operations available on it does not undermine the benefits of the internet throughout the world, or how “cash” dealings in illegal operations do not define the usage of fiat.
The usage of cryptocurrencies depends only on the people who are using it. It can be utilized in means as selfless as donating large amounts to the needy in another part of the world, and it can also be used by these illegal operations to fund their criminal activities.
It simply depends upon the humans who use the technology, not on the invention itself.