Police seize £115,000 of cryptocurrency linked to suspected Covid-19 fraud
Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) have seized £115,000 worth of Bitcoin as part of an investigation into fraudulent applications for government-backed loans for businesses impacted by Covid-19.
A 35-year-old woman was arrested on Wednesday (August 12) following an investigation by detectives from the MPS Proactive Money Laundering Team, which suggested she was controlling a large sum of fraudulently obtained cryptocurrency.
Detectives established that a number of mule bank accounts had been used to receive the proceeds of fraudulent applications for Bounce Back Loans. These sums of money were then transferred from the mule accounts to the cryptocurrency wallet of the suspect.
A search warrant was obtained and MPS officers, assisted by officers from Suffolk Constabulary’s Proactive Crime Team, executed a search on a residential address in Ipswich.
The address was searched and several children were found to be on their own. The suspect was found close to the address and was later arrested on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and child neglect.
She was subsequently taken to a police station and later released under investigation after being interviewed.
The following day (August 13) MPS officers successfully applied to a London magistrates’ court for the detention of £115,000 of cryptocurrency held in the wallet of the suspect. The investigation continues.
Detective Sergeant Ian Barrett said: “For people to take advantage of government support available to those who really need it in these unprecedented times is appalling. The Met remain committed to working with institutions in the regulated financial sector and law enforcement partners to tackle organised financial crime and bring these serious criminals to justice.”