What initially started out as an attempt to halt a movie pirate from doing “his thing” has turned into something much larger. A man based in New Zealand named Jaron David McIvor has had nearly $7 million in crypto funds confiscated by local law enforcement after they were tipped off to his illicit business.
McIvor Loses His Funds
McIvor - 31 years of age - tried to disguise his job and lifestyle by living in a very modest home with relatives. What was unknown was that the man was sitting on a heavy cryptocurrency fortune garnered through years of potentially pirating movies, infringing copyrights and taking what was never his.
The funds have been seized through what’s known as the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act. The funds are frozen granted that they potentially stem from “significant criminal activity” according to the legislation. It is considered the biggest seizure in New Zealand’s history.
McIvor is now being held for potentially running an illegal movie streaming business composed primarily of pirated material. He was initially discovered after PayPal tipped off tax authorities regarding some of his transactions, which they deemed suspicious. When police knocked on his door, they were given the private keys to his large crypto stash.
Individuals in the United States, Vietnam and Canada who are believed to have been involved in the scheme are also under investigation, though at press time, these individuals have not been named. Overall, it is believed that McIvor may have earned as much as $2 million from the streaming site, which leaves authorities baffled as to where the rest of the money may have come from. Further investigation could unveil the answers they’re seeking.
Detective Senior Sergeant Keith Kay, who headed the asset recovery unit responsible for freezing and housing the uncovered cryptocurrency, explained in a statement:
Introducing illicitly-obtained funds into New Zealand constitutes money laundering and police will thoroughly investigate and restrain the assets of those who undertake such activity regardless of where in the world the crime is committed.
A Country for Crypto Scams?
New Zealand has been the home of several past cryptocurrency fraud cases, such as one involving John Bracken, an alleged farmer in the Gisborne area. Bracken had as much as $11 million seized by police authorities, though at the time of writing, he denies he was involved in anything illegal. He comments:
It’s quite a horrible situation, here. Our funds are frozen, we don’t have a lawyer, we’re not sure what avenue we’re going down to fight it… [We’ve done] absolutely nothing wrong.
Assistant commissioner Richard Chambers, who heads a New Zealand division devoted to the takedown of organized crime, said that his department is looking to partner with several outside agencies and sources to ensure that regardless of the country, drug-dealing and other illicit behavior is stopped before it can begin.
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