Las Vegas police arrest 23-year-old trader in $500,000 bitcoin scheme

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Metro police have arrested a cryptocurrency trader after a victim contacted police in late 2020 and reported that $500,000 in bitcoins had been routed to unknown accounts.

Filippos Liakounakos, 23, is charged with theft, identity theft and a criminal act involving email/electronic transactions of computer data.

The $500,000 disappeared – $450,000 for bitcoin and $50,000 in sales fees – as the victim tried to buy 24,109 bitcoins.

The victim contacted IC3.gov and filed a report.

Metro detectives first looked into the case and attempted to trace the destination of the cryptocurrency, but they did not have enough information. The victim then contacted detectives on December 3, 2020 and told them he was able to contact the suspect again. This contact provided crucial information for the investigation.

Metro detectives used electronic signatures in internet communications to trace emails and financial transactions involving bitcoins to Liakounakos, and issued a warrant in July last year. Liakounakos is in Clark County Detention Center on $25,000 bond and is due in court on Wednesday.

According to a warrant document from Metro, the victim had made contact online with someone who was guiding him into the world of cryptocurrency, and in late November 2020, they communicated online through a service called Telegram prior to the transaction.

Through email and transaction records, police traced an elaborate attempt to deceive the victim and make it harder to detect the true identity behind the accounts. Search warrants sent to Microsoft and Google helped police break up those attempts to trace the true identity back to Liakounos, according to the warrant report.

Police were able to link Liakounakos to a Florida driver’s license, as well as a pick-up address in Greece.

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