The UK has witnessed a 41% surge in crypto fraud cases, reaching £306 million in the past year. To combat this trend, London’s Metropolitan Police has formed a dedicated 40-member team to investigate cryptocurrency-related crimes.
In response to the alarming rise in crypto-related crimes, London’s Metropolitan Police has established a 40-member specialized unit to investigate cryptocurrency-related offenses.
The use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities has surged in the UK, with reported cases of crypto fraud increasing by 41% over the past year, amounting to £306 million.
This dedicated squad has already taken swift action, handling 74 intelligence referrals and initiating 19 active criminal investigations. The attraction of cryptocurrencies for criminal networks lies in their ability to obscure assets and facilitate cross-border transactions, with Bitcoin being a favored choice for illicit wealth transfers.
Detective Inspector Geoff Donoghue, who leads the crypto investigation team, emphasized that cryptocurrencies have now become pervasive in various criminal enterprises, including drug trafficking, arms dealing, and human exploitation. Recent incidents, such as the blocking of cryptocurrency accounts associated with fundraising for Hamas, underscore the direct link between digital currencies and funding for illegal organizations.
Meanwhile, criminal syndicates in the UK have rapidly adopted cryptocurrencies for illicit activities, including a case where 40 kilograms of cocaine were converted into an estimated £3 million worth of cryptocurrency.
In another audacious scheme, a group engaged in a £21 million Bitcoin scam, distributing £5,000 gift cards on the streets, highlighting the scale and audacity of crypto-enabled crimes.