Thursday 21 November 2019

€2m Bitcoin fraud suspect wanted in US is granted bail

Conor Freeman was bailed
Conor Freeman was bailed

A Dublin man wanted in the US for the alleged theft of nearly €2m in Bitcoin and other digital currencies has been granted bail by the High Court.

Conor Freeman (20) was arrested at his home in Glenageary Court, Dun Laoghaire, this month on foot of a warrant issued by US authorities.

Mr Freeman's surrender is being sought on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud and four counts of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. If convicted in the US, Mr Freeman is facing up to 108 years in prison.

US authorities allege that members of an online group called 'The Community' conspired to "hack numerous targets" to steal cryptocurrencies between February 2018 and May 2018. The others are US residents.

According to a warrant issued by the US Department of Justice, authorities have identified four attacks in which Mr Freeman allegedly participated that resulted in the theft of cryptocurrency valued at $2,187,977 (€1,961,325).


Mr Freeman was granted bail by the High Court yesterday in his own bond of €5,000 and an independent surety of €15,000.

Counsel for the Attorney General, Siobhan Ni Chulachain BL, said the terms of Mr Freeman's proposed bail were acceptable to the State.

Mr Freeman is required to not apply for travel documents, not to use technology, including a smartphone, not to go online, not to contact his co-accused and continue co-operating with the authorities. He is required to sign on daily at Dun Laoghaire Garda Station.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly remanded Mr Freeman on bail to July 1 when the case is next listed for mention.

US authorities asked Irish extradition detectives to arrest Mr Freeman on the same day his co-accused were arrested in the US, because they believed Mr Freeman would allegedly destroy evidence and potentially flee once he learned of the arrests of his alleged co-conspirators.

The warrant explains Mr Freeman is linked to an individual identified as "Conor" in online chats between 'The Community' uncovered when a member of the group was arrested last May. "Conor" allegedly played a significant role in "numerous attacks".

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