Australian Policeman Steals 81 Bitcoins and Gets Unmasked

Australian police officer William Wheatley appeared in a court in the country this week for the theft of more than 81 bitcoins. According to the court document, these bitcoins had been stolen from a crypto wallet seized in 2019 as part of a drug trafficking investigation. The incriminated police officer denies the facts, while a crypto analyst asserts otherwise.

Australian policeman caught stealing Bitcoin

Several states vilify Bitcoin, but some of their agents go to great lengths to obtain… According to the Australian press, an Australian Federal Police officer appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this week. The officer William Wheatley is accused of stealing Bitcoins, handling assets suspected to be the proceeds of a crime, and dishonestly using inside information for his profit.

The case dates back to January 2019. As part of an investigation into drug trafficking, Australian police had managed to seize a wallet Trezor during the search of the suspect’s home on January 25, 2019. While the other police officers saw only a simple metal device, William Wheatley, who was the specialist in the cybercrime division of the federal police, knew it was a crypto wallet.

The crooked policeman didn’t wait too long before taking action. Just four days after the search, 81,616 Bitcoins were withdrawn from the wallet. At the time, these Bitcoins were worth just over $283,000. With the rise in the price of Bitcoin, they are now worth over $4.2 million!

Blockchain’s traceability and transparency get police officers into trouble

The policeman William Wheatley might have got away with it if the blockchain wasn’t traceable. Indeed, investigators had been allowed to mine the wallet on February 14, 2019, and believed that all previous transactions had been made by an accomplice of the drug traffickers. The case involving the loss of 81 bitcoins had even been dropped.

It was finally in 2021 that the case was reopened after tracing conducted by a crypto investigator, hired by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, revealed the probable involvement of a police officer. According to the analyst Craig Gillespie, some crypto transactions carried out on the wallet entered lead to the bank account of William Wheatley.

The policeman William Wheatley has been suspended from duty because of the charges against him. However, the officer claims to be innocent…

In these circumstances, blockchain will be an inescapable ally of justice. Traceable, transparent and immutable, blockchain will surely show all transactions coming from the seized wallet and the people involved. It is with full knowledge of the facts that Hamas has abandoned Bitcoin fundraising. Unlike the traditional financial system, crypto transactions are transparent and viewable by all.