Kathryn Nguyen being arrested in 2018. Source: NSW Police
A 25-year-old Sydney female has been sentenced to a maximum two years and three months in jail for stealing over 100,000 ‘Ripple’ cryptocurrency in January 2018.
Kathryn Nguyen and an associate hacked into a 56-year-old man’s cryptocurrency account and swapped the two-factor authentication to her mobile phone, according to News Corp.
She then transferred the large sum of cryptocurrency to an overseas exchange where it was traded for bitcoin and shuffled into different wallets.
The heist took place at the height of the cryptocurrency boom when Ripple coins peaked at just over $4 each – netting Nguyen some $400,000 in Ripple at the time.
Ripple is now worth a tenth of what it was.
Police raided Nguyen’s home in Epping last year, seizing computers, phones, and money.
She was the first Australian charged over cryptocurrency theft.
Presiding judge Chris Craigie said it was a “difficult and troubling decision” to send Nguyen to prison and that her references reflected a “generous and hardworking personality”, according to News Corp.
“A common thread was the offender’s willingness to help others,” Craigie said.
“This takes on a different meaning in her willingly participating and assisting in a criminal enterprise.”
He said the offending appeared “out of character” and that her “moral judgement was distorted” at the time of cryptocurrency theft.
After losing money trading bitcoin she began a business repairing designer handbags and shoes.
Nguyen will be eligible for parole in October 2021.
Police began their nearly year-long investigation into Nguyen after the victim reported being locked out of his trading account.
Commander of NSW Cybercrime Squad, Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft, told Information Age it was imperative for potential cybercrime victims to make a report.
“The problem we have nationally – not just in New South Wales – is that the reporting rate for cyber related crimes is very low,” Craft said.
But cybercrime transcends borders which makes the job of police more difficult.
“Sometimes you do have offenders that are overseas, which means there’s not much law enforcement can do,” Craft said.
“But unless you report it and we know about it, we’re not in a position to make that determination.”
Report Cyber is the official channel for reporting cyber crimes and covers a range of cyber issues including abuse, identity theft, compromised accounts, and malware.