Two men have been arrested in Tokyo on suspicion of defrauding IT firm Vipstar Inc. from hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin (BTC), Mainichi reported on Jan. 23. One of the suspects is a former employee who used his access to steal money from a trading fund.
Yuto Onitsuka and Takuma Sasaki are accused of stealing 78 million yen (approximately $712,000) from Vipstar, a blockchain project. They are also suspected of committing computer fraud and contravening a government act on the control of criminal proceeds.
The police alleges that on Oct. 29, 2018, the suspects made 12 unauthorized entries in a trading account that was managed by Vipstar, which is reported to have held the company’s working capital. They transferred the funds to their own account.
Both suspects confessed, with Onitsuka citing disagreements with the company’s management policy that compelled him to “try and ruin the company.” The second suspect, Sasaki, allegedly claimed to have acted on Onitsuka’s instructions. The two men reportedly did not meet in real life, having struck up a conversation over the internet in previous years. Onitsuka was the company’s CTO, and had access to customers’ accounts and login details.
The crime was discovered by Vipstar one month later, though it appears that the culprits were not immediately found. Meanwhile, one of the men had allegedly withdrawn 6 million yen ($54,000) to pay for his debts and a vacation.
What is Vipstar?
The project is a hybrid proof-of-stake and proof-of-work chain launched in early 2018. Utilizing anime motifs and claiming to “reintroduce fun,” the project’s primary aim is to facilitate cross-border donations. Its GitHub page shows that it's an Ethereum (ETH) fork, though the actual code was forked from the HTMLCOIN repository.
Its token, VIPS, is currently ranked 616 on CoinMarketCap.