Youth disappears with more than $1M worth of Bitcoin after faking his abduction

Key takeaways

  • A Venezuelan youth scammed people off 23 BTC, which is now equivalent to more than $1 million.
  • The case appears in a list of Bitcoin-related criminal acts in Venezuela.

YEREVAN ( — A 23-year-old Venezuelan has faked his kidnapping to steal 23.66 Bitcoin (worth $1.15 million) from clients whose funds he controlled.

Venezuelan authorities are on the lookout for the young scammer. Douglas Rico is the director of the Corps of Scientific, Criminal and Criminal Investigations (CICPC). On Aug. 29th, he stated that Andrés Jesús Dos Santos Hernández had been charged with suspected money laundering and fraud. As a result, he is now wanted by the country’s largest national police agency.

Since Hernandez’s disappearance, his client’s Binance accounts have been emptied, so authorities assert that it’s likely that he faked the abduction.

Rico said that “simulat[ed] a kidnapping where his captors allegedly forced him to enter the Binance platform and make transfers to different digital wallets, depleting all the crypto assets in question.” 

According to Rico, the suspect has introduced himself as a financial advisor to convince local people to invest and demand Bitcoin. Rico published Hernandez’s photo on his Instagram account and wrote that “He affected the economic assets of the victims for being a financial operator of the virtual currency Bitcoin.”

Kidnappings for bitcoin have already happened in Venezuela. In August, a 39-year-old man was kidnapped, and the criminals wanted a ransom in BTC. Unfortunately, the family wasn’t able to provide the whole ransom. So two days later, the victim’s body was found on a highway.

Venezuela’s history with Cryptocurrency

Venezuela’s official currency has been plummeting for more than ten years now. As a result, citizens have turned to cryptocurrencies to combat inflation. In addition, they can use digital assets as a store of value or a means to reach international markets. That’s why Venezuela is a global leader in cryptocurrency adoption, and digital assets are used more than in almost any other country.

Venezuela has a government-issued cryptocurrency, which is backed by oil. The country’s government has mandated the use of The Petro. But its performance has been questioned by experts and critics. They say controlling a digital asset directly by a national government is against the principles of the cryptocurrency movement.

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