The counterfeit bills were sold for 10-30% of their face value, depending on the size of the lot. After receiving the bitcoins, couriers hid the counterfeit bills in suburban parks or forests.
The Russian police reported this Monday, April 26, the Arrest of four alleged counterfeiters who sold USD 13 million in counterfeit banknotes in exchange for bitcoins. The sale of the tickets would have happened through stores within the darknet market, Hydra.
The Russian newspaper Kommersant expressed that the four subjects identified as Sergey Arisov, Ivan Aferov, Andrey Skvortsov and Oleg Efimov received an arrest warrant in the western Russian city Nizhny Novgorod.
Russian police took them captive and filed them with charges of printing counterfeit banknotes and selling them through Hydra, one of the world’s largest darknet markets, according to blockchain analytics company Chainalysis.
The banknotes, with which these four alleged counterfeiters came to earn around USD 13 million, were sold for 10% or 15% of their face value if they were large batches, or 30% of their face value was smaller lots.
Counterfeit Money’s Delivery Fell at Fake Messengers’ Hands through the “Hidden Treasure” Method
The modus operandi for the sale of counterfeits was purchasing these bills through Hydra stores for a minimum of 0.0002 BTC per ticket. Once the buyer sent the payment in bitcoin for the bills, a courier for the counterfeiters would deliver the package with the counterfeits to a location that could be a suburban forest or a natural place/park in Russia and hide, even burying it on the ground.
Giving the name to this way of proceeding from «kald», that is to say, «hidden treasure». Once the package reached its place, the courier would send the buyer a message to fetch it.
The alleged counterfeiters became too evident as the Russian police first found several of their messengers. Likewise, after getting the criminals captured, the police confiscated computers and other vital equipment at the headquarters where they based their operations.
Some buyers of these counterfeit bills stated that the packages on which these currencies were, laid in places easy to find. They bought things in real life with those bills. Another strategy these kinds of counterfeiters use could be that the damage of the package or did not appear in the place indicated by the couriers.
According to CoinDesk writer Anya Baydakova, sellers suggest that hairspray on purchases would make the fake bills adopt the typical texture that adorns the cash bills. In stores, there is a provision of a brand of lacquers to guarantee this result.
This criminal behavior has happened before; it is not the first time that banknote counterfeiters have been under Arrest because of the failed exchanging of false money for bitcoins. In 2016, 8 subjects received an arrest warrant in Malta for a very similar crime.
By: Jenson Nuñez