Australian police officer indicted for alleged theft of 81 BTC from drug proceeds

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William Wheatley, an officer of the Australian police, is at the moment present process courtroom proceedings in reference to accusations of stealing crypto belongings seized in the course of the dismantling of an internet drug-trafficking operation.

The officer in query is being charged with theft, managing proceeds from suspected felony actions, and leveraging confidential info for private acquire. These expenses are being addressed in a committal listening to going down this week on the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court docket.

Amid a collection of testimonies, Wheatley’s protection asserts that the case depends on circumstantial proof, difficult the actions attributed to their consumer. The continued listening to unfolds because the authorized proceedings progress.

Initially accused in December 2022, Wheatley is at the moment difficult the allegations. Based on courtroom paperwork, he allegedly misappropriated 81.616 Bitcoin (BTC) from a crypto pockets whereas regulation enforcement was investigating a drug trafficking ring underneath Operation Viridian in 2019.

Notably, quite a few felony networks have embraced cryptocurrency funds as a method to cover their tracks. The 81.6 BTC reportedly misappropriated by Wheatley constituted a portion of the funds derived from the drug trafficking ring.

Background of the case

The operation into the drug trafficking enterprise was carried out by the Icarus Taskforce, a mixed effort from the Australian Federal Police and the Victoria Police. The duty power found a pc after conducting a raid on Jan. 25, 2019, in reference to the operation. 

They then sought the assistance of Sergeant Deon Achtypis, a detective of the cybercrime unit. Achtypis disclosed that he and his workforce uncovered orders involving medicine and Bitcoin transactions on an encrypted e-mail service. In addition they discovered a Trezor pockets, which they handed over to the Icarus Taskforce.

Following approval to revive entry to the pockets, Detective Achtypis found that 81.616 BTC had been transferred shortly after he and his workforce positioned the system. Initially valued at $450,000, these belongings have been subsequently moved to 2 different digital wallets, with their present valuation now exceeding $6.3 million.

The detectives revisited the case in 2021 after Initially attributing the asset motion to accomplices of the drug trafficking ring. Notably, the investigation took a flip when one of many scrutinized IP addresses was traced again to the headquarters of the Australian Federal Police in Melbourne, intensifying suspicions of police involvement.

Crypto investigator Craig Gillespie, who was engaged by the authorities, tracked 28 transactions between January and April 2019. Sure transactions from this era are purportedly linked to withdrawals that discovered their method into Wheatley’s checking account between 2019 and September 2022.

AFP officer Jesse Wyatt testified that he, the one federal police officer current in the course of the raid, contacted Wheatley upon discovering the cryptocurrency pockets. In a textual content message, Wyatt sought Wheatley’s experience, describing the metallic system as a doable “cryptocurrency factor.”

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