Hacker Pleads Guilty of Stealing $365,000 Worth of Bitcoin From Darknet Criminals

Hacker Michael Richo, who was arrested on October 5, 2016, has admitted that he stole a total of $365,000 worth of Bitcoin from darknet marketplaces, News 8 reports.

For this crime, Richo could serve up to 30 years of jail time.

Modus operandi

Richo has established several phishing sites in order to gain access to user credentials.

A phishing site is used to trick users in order to obtain their sensitive information such as login accounts, and passwords. Cybercriminals, particularly those operating in the darknet, are expected to be already aware of such sites, but they were tricked by Richo just the same. He was able to trick users to his phishing sites by posting fake links on forums and other online marketplaces.

Modern-day Robinhood?

A number of darknet marketplaces became victims of the phishing sites created by Richo. By gaining access to the sites’ user credentials, Richo was able to access the users’ accounts in the real darknet marketplace and stole their Bitcoin balance.

All the funds stolen by Richo, however, are believed to be owned by darknet criminals, who could have utilized the money for illegal activities.

Richo then deposited the stolen Bitcoin to his LocalBitcoins account. He also conducted bank transfers to his account at Bank of America, as well as his Green Dot prepaid debit cards.

Another win for FBI

After almost three years of monitoring and building a case against Richo, operatives from the FBI finally arrested him in 2014.

During their examination of his computers, the operatives discovered more than 10,000 stolen login credentials. They also found that his phishing sites were created in a very professional and meticulous manner that allowed him to trick even the most experienced darknet users.

The court hearing Richo’s case is scheduled to issue its verdict on September 28, 2017.

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