Five arrested and charged for the theft of Bored Ape NFTs in France

Investigations of Twitter’s on-chain sleuth ZachXBT proved integral to the arrests.
October 14, 2022 - Tom Peters

On Wednesday, French authorities in charge of cybercrime charged five people for allegedly scamming victims out of their digital collectables worth millions of dollars.


The five individuals – all young adults - are said to belong to a criminal gang and mainly target Bored Ape and Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT owners (BAYC & MAYC). At the time of their arrest, they had reportedly stolen over US$2.5 million worth of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).


Investigators revealed that the suspect used a phishing website to scam unsuspecting victims, promising them they could animate their NFTs before illegally transferring ownership of the digital assets.


The French authorities were tipped off by ZachXBT, a Twitter user widely recognised within the online NFT community as an “on-chain sleuth” who makes it his duty to expose instances of crypto and NFT-related fraud to his followers.


Zach gives a detailed account of his investigations on his blog; first mentioning how in 2021, Twitter user “Dilly Dilly” was tricked into clicking a link from “a verified member of the BAYC Discord,” which led him to a phishing site and resulted in his NFT being stolen.


According to Zach, the suspects immediately sold their stolen digital collectables and used Tornado Cash to make their transactions untraceable. 


Over the past year, Zach was able to identify three victims in total and two of the suspects operating the scam. His investigations helped French law enforcement to arrest two of the five suspects.


According to investigators, two of the five facing charges are suspected of having done the site and marketing, and three others are suspected of having done advertising and money laundering operations.

Photo: Outdoor Adventure


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