Calgary man fined $5,000 for cryptocurrency theft linked to violent home invasion

Calgary man fined $5,000 for cryptocurrency theft linked to violent home invasion

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The victim of a still unsolved, violent home invasion where armed and masked men forced him to reveal codes to his cryptocurrency accounts will be getting $11,000 worth of his property back.

Court heard Thursday that Mackenzie Bullock was at his Calgary residence on April 14, 2022, when two intruders entered his apartment.

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“Mr. Bullock was the victim of a home invasion,” Crown prosecutor Brian Holtby told Justice Karen Molle.

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“Two individuals entered his home. They were masked, they each had handguns,” Holtby said.

“They seemed to know that Mr. Bullock was involved in cryptocurrency.”

The prosecutor said Bullock had a ledger with a key that allowed him to access his cryptocurrency wallets.

“At gunpoint, they asked him to give the password to the ledger,” Holtby said.

But the prosecutor said admitted cryptocurrency thief Buay Poutekchan Tung could not be linked to the home invasion.

“The Crown is not alleging and cannot prove that Mr. Tung was involved in this at all,” he told Molle.

Holtby said then-Const. Ryan Ryder, who has since left the Calgary Police Service, was familiar with a software program that allowed him to trace cryptocurrency.

“He put an alarm on Mr. (Bullock’s) wallet which would notify him when cryptocurrency was transferred.”

Later in April, Ryder received an alert that Ethereum (a type of cryptocurrency) belonging to Bullock had been moved to a Coinbase wallet, an online platform used for buying, selling, transferring and storing cryptocurrency.

With the co-operation of Coinbase, investigators were able to trace thousands of dollars worth of Ethereum, Holtby said.

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“The money had been transferred to a wallet owned by Mr. Tung,” the prosecutor said.

“At the time, it was valued at about $11,000.”

He told Molle he did not know what the value of the stolen cryptocurrency is now, but it will be returned to Bullock.

“The police have been able to seize that cryptocurrency and it’s currently under their control.”

Defence lawyer Jim Lutz said Tung has agreed to co-operate in returning the cryptocurrency to Bullock by providing access to his secure wallet account.

Lutz said his client was willing to plead guilty to theft although there may have been arguable issues around how the conversion occurred.

Along with the $5,000 fine, Molle ordered Tung, 29, to pay a victim fine surcharge of $750.

At Lutz’s request, the judge gave Tung 18 months to pay the two amounts.

“If you don’t pay that fine, you will have to serve time in custody,” Molle warned.

Holtby said no one has been charged in connection with the home invasion on Bullock’s residence.

KMartin@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts


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