The Civil Guard has identified a cryptocurrency scammer, creator of the ‘Hodlife’ token, who has been detained in Latvia after being a fugitive from international justice since 2015. Investigators tracked down a thirty-something who was connecting to the Wi-Fi of hotels on the Costa del Sol from Málaga in his attempt not to leave a trace of an operation that, using false identities, managed to gain control of cryptocurrencies worth more than half a million euros, leaving behind more than a thousand affected.
According to the Civil Guard, in the operation of the Department Against Cybercrime of the Central Operational Unit (UCO) it has been possible to identify and arrest “one of the largest known cryptocurrency cyber crooks”, a 30-year-old Latvian wanted by international law enforcement agencies since 2015.
The detainee has also been located in other parts of the Spanish geography such as Ibiza or Tenerife, where you enjoyed a high lifestyle, according to sources from the Civil Guard. He came to possess credit cards and bank accounts with false ownership, since a search, arrest and extradition order ordered by the United States in 2015 weighed on him, motivated by the commission of successive scams.
This police force began the investigation for the information collected through open channels to pursue this criminal phenomenon on the rise. After the arrest, it has facilitated the email account [email protected] as a point of contact for potential victims.
Aggressive social media campaigns
The bait of the scam was promising users to invest in a new cryptocurrency project, ‘Hodlife, The Unicorn Token‘, with the claim to later distribute part of the commissions of the operations that will be carried out with the platform. The UCO believes that, apart from this investigation, the 30-year-old arrested made scam their way of life.
For the dissemination of this project, it launched aggressive advertising campaigns on social media profiles such as Twitter and Telegram, as well as with a website created expressly, quickly attracting a large community of duped users to deposit their cryptocurrencies in this new line of business.
To give more credibility to these campaigns, the creator of Hodlife seized the services of an actor. His role was to record promotional videos of the project posing as the creator of the initiative, creating expectations about achievements and the mechanics of benefits.
The alleged investment unmasked itself last June, when all investors who had invested their cryptocurrencies in Hodlife they were able to verify that had been transferred to other portfolios, without leaving any trace of your investments. It is a scam called ‘rug pull’ or ‘pull the rug’, consisting of the developers of a project abandoning it and fleeing with the investors’ money.
From luxury villas to hotel Wi-Fi
The UCO carried out the traceability of the investments, verifying that the detainee promoted the currency exchange of cryptocurrencies, transfers to different networks and used platforms that offer ‘mixing’ services or mixing crypto assets with those of other users, thus achieving make it difficult to identify ownership of each of the portfolios in which the funds are deposited.
The investigators then reached a Lithuanian citizen, with the initials AT and 29 years old, who turned out to be a false identity of the arrested Latvian, ringleader of the scam, which had enjoyed stays in Spain for long periods in 2020. They also discovered previous scams for around 600,000 euros, which for the UCO shows that this person made the scam his way of life.
By following the trail of this person, the agents were able to verify the high standard of living, both he and his companions, residing in luxury villas with rents over a thousand euros a day or renting high-end cars of the most exclusive brands, as well as spending huge amounts of money in designer clothing stores and in the most prominent restaurants in the city. Costa del Sol.suckreous
It was also decisive for the agents to know that the ringleader of the scam alternated residence in the aforementioned villas with others in hotels. It was here where they used internet connections to connect to different platforms for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, transferring stolen funds to wallets owned by you.