AFP confiscates $1.2m in cryptocurrency earnt from nicked Netflix services

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AFP confiscates $1.2m in cryptocurrency earnt from nicked Netflix services

Largest ever government seizure.

A Sydney man has been told to forfeit more than $1.2 million in cryptocurrency that he earnt from selling stolen Netflix and Spotify subscription credentials.

The 23-year-old man was ordered to hand over the cryptocurrency – the largest forfeiture to the federal government on record – last week following his conviction in April.

He was sentenced to a two-year intensive corrections order in the Supreme Court after pleading guilty for his role in the “credential stuffing” exercise with another US-based man.

Using an account generator website, the man sold stolen log-ins and passwords for online subscription services, including Netflix, Spotify and Hulu, at a cheaper rate for around two years.

The Australian Federal Police said the account details belonged to unknowing victims in Australia and internationally, including the US.

The investigation began in May 2018 following a referral from the US Federal Bureau of Investigations.

In March 2019, cybercrime investigators arrested the man at his Dee Why home, seizing cryptocurrency and electronic materials in the process.

During the course of the investigation, the AFP uncovered that the man was also behind a further three ‘account generator’ websites: HyperGen, Autoflix and AccountBot.

“Across the four subscription services, the offender had at least 152,863 registered users and provided at least 85,925 subscriptions to illegally access legitimate streaming services,” the AFP said.

“The man received more than AUD $680,000 through PayPal, by selling subscriptions through these sites. He converted some of these proceeds into various cryptocurrencies.”

Following his guilty plea in October, the AFP obtained restraining orders over the cryptocurrency and bank and PayPal accounts held in false names but believed to belong to the man.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the forfeiture of cryptocurrency, as well as another $400,000 in cash, would be redistributed to law enforcement and community safety initiatives.

“Good work by the AFP has seen a criminal stripped of their ill-gotten gains, and this money redirected to enhancing the safety and security of… Australia,” she said.

AFP assistant commissioner Justine Gough said the operation was an “excellent example of the AFP’s cybercrime investigations and asset confiscation capabilities”.

The AFP-led arm Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) confiscated $54 million in assets last financial year.

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