Court squeezes $1 million back from convicted phisher

Wooo, fancy a guy who phished more than 100 companies out of nearly £1m (around $1.1m) in cryptocurrency used some of that money to sit his butt down in a first-class carriage on the train. That's how they caught him, actually with “his fingers on the keyboard” as he was logging in to a dark web account on a train between Wales and London back in September 2017.

Flash forward two years, and Wooo-HOOOOO, it's payback time!

As in, literal payback. London's Metropolitan Police announced on Friday that Grant West, who was 25 when police arrested him on that train and who is now 27, has not only been jailed for fraud after carrying out attacks on more than 100 major brands worldwide, including Apple, Uber, Sainsbury's, Groupon, T-Mobile, Ladbrokes, Vitality, the British Cardiovascular Society and the Finnish Bitcoin exchange.

He's also been ordered to pay back the money he ripped off.

Goodbye, cryptocurrency: when Southwark Crown gave West ten years and eight months jail time, the judge also said that his ill-gotten loot would be sold and that the victims will receive compensation.

I therefore order a confiscation of that amount, £915,305.77, to be paid as a way of compensation to the losers.

Some of it's frozen and being held by the FBI, and all of it's fluctuating madly, as cryptocurrencies do, which has made it tough to figure out exactly how much to give victims.

West has to agree to release the funds from his accounts, but there's not much of a choice there: he'd be looking at four additional years in jail if he were to refuse, the judge said.

West did, in fact, agree to give up the money, which reportedly included ethereum, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, victims won't be able to claw back the money West blew on his fancy travel: besides his first-class train habits, he also blew the money on holidays, food, shopping and household goods.

West admitted to charges including conspiracy to defraud, possession of criminal property, unauthorized modification of computer material, and drug offenses.

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