Two US Army Guardsmen Charged and Convicted for Bitcoin Fraud

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On May 23, 2016, two members of the US Army National Guard were convicted of running an intricate credit card scheme through the means of Bitcoins. Other three Guardsmen – Derrick Shelton, Quentin Stewart, and Jamal Moody – pleaded guilty for wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

On June 2, the two indicted persons, James Stewart and Vincent Grant, were caught red-handed using Bitcoins in purchasing stolen credit and debit card numbers. They bought the credit cards from a number of foreign websites. The Justice Department records reveal that Stewart and Grant were also prosecuted last year.

Credit card skimming

The perpetrators successfully skimmed credit card information by using advanced magnetic strip tools. The numbers were then transferred to dummy cards which were used to purchase merchandise from Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores stationed at various US military bases. Apparently, the duo also bought items from other locations all over Maryland.

Stewart was found guilty on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Grant, on the other hand, was convicted for conspiracy to commit access device fraud and also aggravated identity theft. Overall, five members of the US Army National Guard were arrested and charged.

James, Shelton, and Quentin will face a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, while Grant and Moody are heading on to a maximum of seven-and-half year sentence. All of the five suspects involved will also face a mandatory imprisonment of two years minimum for aggravated identity theft.

Remain vigilant

Even though Bitcoin is known as a dynamic cryptocurrency, key lapses in its blockchain data enabled the frauds committed by the indicted Guardsmen. With the prevalence of such crime, many experts are certain that blockchain platforms will have stricter, anti-fraud systems. Since many ‘Bitcoin frauds’ are still operational, heightened vigilance is needed by Bitcoin owners whenever doing transactions online.

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