The 23-year-old is wanted by authorities for reportedly faking his own kidnapping and stealing money from his clients.
Venezuelan authorities are looking for a fraudster accused of stealing $1.15 million in Bitcoin (BTC) from his clients’ accounts after faking his own kidnapping.
Douglas Rico, director of Venezuela’s Scientific, Criminal, and Criminal Investigations Corps, issued a statement on Sunday claiming that Andrés Jess Dos Santos Hernández, 23, was wanted by the country’s largest national police agency on suspicion of money laundering and fraud.
Authorities believe Hernández orchestrated the abduction, as his clients’ Binance accounts have been emptied since the alleged disappearance of the Venezuelan. According to Rico, the police believe Hernández “simulated a kidnapping in which his captors reportedly compelled him to visit the Binance platform and conduct transfers to several digital wallets, emptying all of the crypto assets in question.”
The suspect is believed to have posed as a financial advisor before soliciting Bitcoin from several local investors, with authorities alleging that Hernández amassed 23.66 BTC in total.
Venezuela has long been a global hotbed for Bitcoin adoption, with locals resorting to crypto assets to offset the country’s chronic hyperinflation that has plagued it for the previous decade.
For Venezuelans, cryptocurrencies provide a means of storing value and access to international markets, as well as a means of converting into US dollars.
While the Venezuelan government has attempted to control the local digital asset market by requiring the usage of its oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, there has been little evidence of significant adoption among local individuals since its inception.