rench authorities used investigations from pseudonymous blockchain detective ZachXBT to charge five people with stealing $2.5 million in NFTs via online attacks.

In an AFP report shared by Barron's on October 12, the alleged fraudsters created a website that tried to portray as a service that infuses the static artwork from people's Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFTs.

Regrettably, their credentials were stolen for the victims, and their NFTs were stolen through the fake website instead.

The five young accused, who are declared to be in their mid to late twenties, are said to have carried out the strategy between late 2021 and early 2022. These defendants are charged with fraud committed as a criminal gang member, covering up fraud and criminal association.

Prosecutors have requested that two of the suspects be kept in pre-trial detention because they are believed to be the ring leaders.

ZachXBT provides essential information

Christophe Durand, deputy chief of France's national cyber unit, told AFP that the unit learned about the incident after following an investigation on Twitter by the self-proclaimed on-chain sleuth ZachXBT.

Durand explained that ZachXBT launched an investigation in response to inquiries from the community of Bored Ape Yacht Club series owners who had their tokens snatched.

On Twitter, ZachXBT expressed great pleasure that French authorities had taken measures against the alleged scammers. Given that they're an independent investigator funded by community donations, the detective was also pleased to see their work was formally credited online.

ZachXBT also related to their initial Aug. 9 article, which he claimed sparked the investigation.

A significant portion of the investigation focused on the alleged scammers' use of Tornado Cash to mix and withdraw funds. He then explained that the mathys.eth address, in particular, left revealing breadcrumbs, as they frequently withdrew periods of 10 Ether that introduced up to the value of the NFTs when they were stolen.

ZachXBT has published a series of on-chain investigations on rug pulls, scams, security breaches, and pump and dumps and has amassed a 303,200 Twitter following due to their efforts. Earlier this month, he started investigating the $450,000 Beeple Discord hack to identify those who are responsible.

What do you think of the French police using Twitter users' research to catch scammers? Do you believe that this type of cooperation between social media and law enforcement will become more common in the future? Drop your comments by sharing this article online. 

Oct 13, 2022
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