Chicago’s First Bitcoin Prosecution: $2 Million in Bitcoin Embezzled

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 02:47
Alex Dovbnya
The city of Chicago is prosecuting its first ever Bitcoin related crime.
Cover image via U.Today

The city of Chicago, Illinois has charged an individual who works in the city with wire fraud stemming from cryptocurrency trading. Joseph Kim, a 24 year old employee at Consolidated Trading LLC, has been accused of embezzling $2.06 mln from his employer.

It all started in September 2017, when managers at Consolidated Trading LLC moved Kim from their bond department, to a new department that focuses on cryptocurrency. Shortly after Kim was moved to the cryptocurrency department, Kim transferred 980 Litecoin (LTC) ($48,000 at the time) from the company's consolidated wallet to his own personal wallet. When one of the company directors questioned Kim on why he had done this, according to prosecutors, Kim’s response was that he made the transfer to his personal wallet as an intermediary holding space for the coins. For some strange reason, this did not ring enough alarm bells and raise enough red flags around Kim and he was permitted to continue working for Consolidated Trading LLC.

By late November, Kim had embezzled more than $3.2 mln in Bitcoin (BTC) from the Consolidated Trading LLC wallet to his personal wallet. It is said that Kim continued to embezzle the funds to cover his personal trading losses, however, Kim returned around $1.2 mln total throughout the escapade.

Finally, When Kim was approached by company officials in late November, Kim came clean about his capers. On Nov. 29, Kim sent the owners of Consolidated Trading LLC and four colleagues an email admitting to some of the cryptocurrency transfers that took place. Kim said in the email:

Until the end I was perversely trying to fix what I had already done. I can't believe I did not stop myself when I had the money to give back, and I will live with that for the rest of my life. You have every apology I have to give, I am sorry to betray you all like this.

Although Kim returned some of the stolen funds throughout the ordeal, Consolidated LLC was not able to recover the full amount stolen which has resulted in a $603,000 loss for the company.

At this point in time, Joseph Kim’s lawyer has not been identified, however, Kim may face up to 20 years if he is convicted of a single charge of wire fraud. Kim is expected to make his first court appearance Friday, Feb. 16.


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