$2m cryptocurrency thief (21) could have faced 100 years in jail if he had faced a US court
A “loner” who took part in the online theft of over $2 million worth of cryptocurrencies has been jailed for just under three years
November 18 2020 02:30 AM
A Dublin man who was jailed for almost three years yesterday for the theft of more than $2m worth of cryptocurrencies could have been jailed for over 100 years if he had been prosecuted in the United States.
US authorities had originally sought the extradition of Conor Freeman (21), who was identified by US Homeland Security as having taken part in the thefts.
He was arrested in May last year after the garda’s Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) helped their American colleagues who are prosecuting five other suspects in the case in the United States.
In May, this year the DOCB were tasked with securing a domestic prosecution against Freeman which halted his extradition to the US.
Last night, senior sources said this was one of “numerous cases” in which specialist gardaí and agencies in the US such as Homeland Security, the DEA and the FBI were working on together.
“The various US agencies have a worldwide network that really helps in areas across the world where An Garda Siochana does not have a footprint,” the senior source said.
It is understood that among the cases the US agencies are working alongside the DOCB with is a long-standing international investigation into the Kinahan cartel.
Meanwhile, Freeman, of Glenageary Court, Dun Laoghaire, had pleaded guilty to knowingly engaging in the possession of the proceeds of crime – namely 142.75682712 Bitcoin.
Described in court as a “loner”, Freeman further pleaded guilty to stealing $100,000 in cryptocurrency from Darran Marble on May 15, 2018, stealing cryptocurrencies with an approximate value of $1,921,335, from Seth Sharpiro on May 16, 2018, and stealing cryptocurrencies with an approximate value of $167,622.22 from Micheal Templeman on May 18, 2018.
He also entered guilty pleas to three counts of dishonestly operating a computer to make a gain on dates between May 15 and May 18, 2018.
The court heard he had no previous convictions.
Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Martin Nolan said every system ever developed had its weaknesses because every system had to be user friendly.
Judge Nolan said stealing money of this order was serious because no one could know the effect it would have on the victim.
He noted that Mr Sharpiro’s life savings and the proceeds of the sale of his house were stolen.
He said there was “almost perfect mitigation” in this case.
He said mitigating factors included Freeman’s guilty plea, his co-operation, his having no previous convictions, his youth, his having abilities which can contribute to society and that he is probably unlikely to re-offend.
Judge Nolan said the crime involved “guile and deception”.
He said a custodial sentence was warranted despite the mitigation in order to punish the accused, to deter him and to deter others. He sentenced Freeman to three years in jail, but reduced the sentence to two years and 11 months to give him credit for time he had served.