Theodore Price, a self described computer hacker, has claimed responsibility for one of the biggest digital currency heists when he was investigated by police for two stolen laptops and a gold necklace.
Price came clean to a local detective, as well as a Homeland Security Agent, who approached him in an investigation of missing jewlery and computer equipment from his girlfriend’s parents house.
It is alleged that Price wrote software to steal between $40 and $50 mln worth of Bitcoin by replacing wallet addresses through malware.
Simulated Bitcoin wallets
If the heist can be proven to be true, it would rank in the top five digital currency thefts of all time said Cornell University computer science professor Emin Gun Sirer.
Still at the top of that pile is the Mt.Gox hack which saw $480 mln dollars emptied from their digital coffers.
Price allegedly achieved this feat by writing software that simulates the code used to create Bitcoin wallets. From there, the malware was distributed on a number of Internet forums and injected into email addresses.
The software steals the Bitcoin keys by replacing other people’s wallets with Price’s during transactions.
Price admitted that one of the Bitcoin wallets in his possession contained $34.6 mln and that he was planning on laundering it and fleeing to London, England.
Price had begun his planning for fleeing the country while still trying to figure out how to use his stolen Bitcoins. With the transparent nature of the Bitcoin ledger, he could remain anonymous, but his transaction could be noted and draw attention.
Price’s plan included chartering a private jet for England under the name of Jeremy Renner, the actor who plays Hawkeye in the Avengers movie franchise.
Caught by a gold chain
Police began investigating the Pennsylvania man when Price’s girlfriend's parents return home to find two laptops missing from their home, as well as a gold necklace. The hacker was approached by his girlfriend about the burglary, as he had access to the house but he denied it.
Later on, it was discovered that Price sold her father’s laptop for $150, when two laptop bags with the mother’s computer, stolen credit cards belonging to people related to the girlfriend and the dark web credit card information were discovered in his possession.
All the money in the world, nowhere to spend it
It seems strange that Price, who is admitting to having over $40 mln in Bitcoin, would be hawking laptops for the paltry sum of a few hundred dollars. It is the fact that laundering money with Bitcoin is not that simple as the ledger is public.
Hackers will often try and process large amounts of Bitcoin through “tumbling” which means intermingling it with other people’s transactions.