23-year-old Venezuelan allegedly steals $ 1 million in BTC from customers after fake kidnapping

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Venezuelan authorities are looking for a fraudster accused of disappearing from his customers’ accounts with $ 1.15 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) after faking his own kidnapping.

On August 29, Douglas Rico, director of Venezuela’s Scientific, Criminal and Criminal Investigation Corps (CICPC), issued a statement claiming that 23-year-old Andrés Jesús Dos Santos Hernández of the country’s largest national police agency was charged with the charges on suspicion of money laundering and fraud.

Authorities claim Hernadnez likely orchestrated the kidnapping as his clients’ Binance accounts have been emptied since the Venezuelan’s alleged disappearance. According to Rico, the police believe that Hernandez is “simulating”[ed] a kidnapping where his kidnappers allegedly forced him to enter the Binance platform and make transfers to various digital wallets, using up all of the crypto assets in question. “

The suspect reportedly posed as a financial advisor before soliciting several local investors for Bitcoin, with authorities claiming Hernandez amassed a total of 23.66 BTC.

Related: Turkish prosecutors are investigating alleged Dogecoin mining fraud worth $ 119 million

Venezuela has long been a global hotspot for Bitcoin adoption, with local citizens turning to crypto assets to combat the chronic hyperinflation that has beset the country for the past decade.

For Venezuelans, cryptocurrencies offer a way to store values ​​and gain access to international markets, as well as an instrument for converting into US dollars.

While the Venezuelan government has attempted to enter the local digital asset market by mandating the use of its oil-based cryptocurrency The Petro, there has been little evidence since its inception that the currency is widespread among local citizens.