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Ukrainian Police Arrest Four In Cryptocurrency Exchange Fraud

Ukranian Police authorities have arrested four people in connection with running six fraudulent exchanges.

The authorities say that the accused setup exchanges using a custom CMS(content management system), and attracted users through review websites, which they had infused with fake positive ratings.

The websites the accused deployed are:
1. moneycraft.info
2. wowex.online
3. swapex.net
4. myexchanger.lv
5. iconvex.net
6. likechange.biz

All of the websites are currently offline, with some domains redirecting to irrelevant websites.

Essentially, they set up seemingly legit websites that facilitate cryptocurrency exchange. They received money into eWallets registered under fake identities which they used to siphon money off users. This is fairly elementary, although the fake ratings the accused obtained for their websites might have helped them gain traction.

The number of websites the accused operated is not clear yet, although police officials have said they expect more websites to be uncovered. The police are urging users to come forward if they were duped, in hopes of providing the investigation some direction. The amount of money duped by the accused is also not yet clear.

Several police departments collaboratively worked towards nabbing the suspects, three of whom aged between 20 to 26 are being charged with six counts of fraud.

The police raided the suspect’s residence and have confiscated several credit and debit cards, hard drives, phones, flash drives, along with other computer equipment.

Ukraine, which has been dubbed as the wild east of cryptocurrencies has been in the news infrequently, with they talk about regulation of cryptocurrencies. As it stands, cryptocurrencies in Ukraine are a grey zone, neither legal nor illegal. A draft proposal to regulate cryptocurrencies was put forward in October 2017, although nothing has materialised yet.

CCN earlier reported in May, that Ukraine is set to potentially legalize cryptocurrencies although it is in the early phase.

Previously, Ukrainian authorities seized 1000s of graphics cards and mining equipment, worth about $4 million in connection with Russian bank accounts funding separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Most of the ambiguity can be attributed to the government in Ukraine, which has seemingly gone through a lot over the past few years.

This story originally appeared in CCN. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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