Crypto Gun-Point Robbery Mastermind Pleads Guiltybr>
A New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and theft of more than $1.8 million in ether.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance announced on Wednesday that Louis Meza pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to grand larceny in the first degree and kidnapping in the second degre. Meza, who was arrested in December 2017, was charged with working with other defendants to coordinate the kidnapping and robbery of one of Meza’s acquaintances, who was known to be in possession of a digital wallet containing approximately $1.8 million in ether.
According to the documents filed in court, Meza lured the victim into a minivan, where a gunman demanded his keys, his phone, and the 24-word passphrase to open his cryptocurrency wallet. Meza then went to the victim’s apartment building, where surveillance video captured Meza using the victim’s keys to gain entry to the apartment unit. Meza left the apartment building with a box containing the victim’s digital wallet.
“Meza orchestrated a 21st-century stick-up. Then 21st-century investigators brought him swiftly to justice, securing a landmark conviction in an undeveloped area of the law,” Vance said. “Since 2010, my Office’s Cybercrime & Identity Theft Bureau has developed the expertise and technology to become a national leader in cybercrime prosecution and prevention, as underlined by this conviction and recovery of funds on the survivor’s behalf.”
Meza is expected to be sentenced on September 27 to 10 years behind bars and five years of post-release supervision.