Afek Zard, a resident of Israel, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for embezzling a large sum of cryptocurrency that belonged to a friend of his. The man, who refused to cooperate with the investigation, will have to pay a hefty fine as well.
Israeli Resident Sentenced for Cryptocurrency Theft
The 27-year-old Zard received the sentence from the Be’er Sheva District Court, Israeli news outlet Ynet reported this week. According to the website, Zard stole 75,000 DASH worth an estimated 22 million Israeli shekels ($6.8 million). The fiat equivalent dates back to the time the theft took place. The coins’ current value is almost twice as high.
Zard, who has not returned a single dash to this day, has been convicted of theft in aggravating circumstances and other offenses. The court has also imposed a fine of five million shekels (approx. $1.55 million) and a maximum compensation of 258,000 shekels (almost $80,000).
The crypto thief, a resident of Eilat in Southern Israel, took advantage of his friendship with the victim, identified previously as Alexei Yaromenko, who had invested in cryptocurrency. Zard had access to his apartment where he reportedly hacked into Yaromenko’s computer and acquired the details of his digital wallet with dash (DASH), which was selling for $82.5 per coin at the time.
In the course of the investigation, Afek Zard denied all accusations, did not cooperate with the Israeli police, and refused to provide them with the passwords to his own personal computer and cellphone. As a result, authorities were unable to seize the stolen digital coins.
During the court proceedings, Judge Yoel Eden ruled that the defendant’s testimony was unreliable. Eden convicted him of all alleged offenses that also include hacking into computer equipment, money laundering, fraud, and income tax violations.
The prosecution had requested Zard to be sentenced to between 12 and 15 years in prison for crimes involving a new currency. However, his defense managed to convince the court to issue a reduced sentence of 8-year actual imprisonment plus probation. Zard’s lawyer, Giora Hazan, argued that although the offense was committed on a new platform, the damage itself was “normal and old.”
What’s your opinion about the court’s decision in the case of the large cryptocurrency theft in Israel? Let us know in the comments section below.