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Bitcoin and other virtual currencies have been featured extensively in the news, relating to one criminal act or the other. Being a highly sophisticated and privacy-oriented currency, money launderers and cybercriminals have turned to this new found digital currency as a hideout from suspecting eyes. While some of these swindlers demand virtual assets as a ransom or payment, others use it to fund criminal activities and terrorist groups.
In the news today is a suspected money laundering group in Brazil which operates off the radar by building a Bitcoin mining den in a rather isolated small room right in the middle of a street known as the home of drug traffickers in the Brazilian city Porto Alegre. According to the police report, the small surreptitious room was equipped with 25 high-end tech machines all connected together. The machines reportedly work round the clock and are similar to Bitcoin mining machines.
On a closer look, the police confirmed for a fact that the machines were used to mine Bitcoin. However, an unnamed man claimed he is the owner of the place and that he is into a legitimate Bitcoin mining business. Of course, the police had a lot of questions, and the place does not exactly fit the ‘normal’ Bitcoin mining ring. So, the police initiated a more extensive investigation and found that the room is powered by hidden electrical connections, which is obviously against the law.
Probing further they found a gun in his possession with the serial number cleaned off. To cap it all, the value of the machines are estimated around R$ 250,000 which is equivalent to $63,000 US dollars. And they were all made in China, which made the police believe the machines were smuggled into the country.
The police obviously had enough reasons to arrest the man. However, they still believe this sketchy guy is not the actual owner of the place but someone hired to keep an eye on the property. To strengthen this claim, the police found a scooter among other things recovered in the room. They believe the place is owned and managed by a money laundering group who use the equipment to mine Bitcoin for funding illegal transactions.
The man insisted that he is the owner of the place. He claimed he rented the room for his lawful business which involves mining Bitcoin with a personal investment of his own. He vehemently denied any involvement with organized crime groups.
Despite his story, the police had enough to go on with. Therefore, he was arrested and charged for theft.