UK Man Sentenced to 4-1/2 Years in Jail for Stealing $2.5M in Crypto

Wybbo Wirsma, a Dutch native who lived in the U.K., was under investigation for five years before pleading guilty in an Oxford court on Thursday.

AccessTimeIconJan 27, 2023 at 5:37 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:06 a.m. UTC

A U.K. man was sentenced to four years and six months in jail after pleading guilty to stealing more than 2 million pounds (US$2.5 million) in cryptocurrency, the U.K.’s South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) said Friday.

Wybbo Wiersma, a 40-year old Dutch native living in Oxford, England, had been under investigation by U.K. and Dutch authorities after they seized computers, drugs and cash in his Oxford home in 2019, following a police investigation.

Wiersma had set up a website under a false name on which he generated an 81-character code that he used to steal IOTA tokens from users around the world.

"Wiersma deprived people of their money which they had invested in cryptocurrency, moving it through a web of trading accounts and causing some to lose businesses and life savings,” Detective Inspector Rob Bryant of SEROCU said in a statement.

The investigation involved more than 100 victims worldwide, Bryant said.


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Helene is a U.S. markets reporter at CoinDesk, covering the US economy, the Fed, and bitcoin. She is a recent graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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