German police arrested a young suspect for allegedly committing fraud with the use of the dark web. He was sentenced to probation recently.
A 22-year-old man of Höchstadt, Bavaria, Germany was sentenced to probation for committing over 5,000 euros worth of damage to the victims with his fraudulent activities. According to the court documents, the defendant “teamed up with the wrong people” on the darknet. For his illegal activities, the local court sentenced the 22-year-old to one year and seven months with the prison sentence being suspended if certain conditions are met.
“From the age of 12, the accused had been lost to the darknet,” the prosecutor said during the 22-year-old’s court trial. The prosecution added that the dark web “serves” many individuals with criminal activities. The court records stated that the defendant was involved in fraudulent activities with compromised credit cards.
According to Judge Karin Frank-Dauphin, the 22-year-old purchased stolen credit card information on the dark web, which he used to hold regular “pizza parties” in 2015. The court documents detailed that the defendant used the compromised credit cards of the victims 21 times to use pizza delivery services between September and November 2015. The 22-year-old consumed the goods partly with his friend and his family causing each victim approximately 550 euros of damage.
On darknet forums or marketplaces, the 22-year-old met two accomplices and decided together to commit another sort of fraud causing more damage to the victims. On eBay and eBay classified ads platforms, the defendant lured buyers with advertisements of products he never possessed, including garden furniture, kitchen appliances, and fans. Law enforcement authorities estimate the damage of the fraudulent activity to be around 4,500 euros.
The scam was “shameless” and “perfidious”, the judge said in her statement. She said that the defendant had “a high criminal energy.” Since the suspect was 20-years-old at the time he committed the illegal activities, thus, he was considered as a juvenile, and his probation officer spoke greatly of the 22-year-old, so the defendant was sentenced according to the youth criminal law. The juvenile criminal law had also already applied in a previous case of the 22-year-old in 2016 where he was previously sentenced to probation.
However, the 22-year-old did not stop with his criminal activities after the eBay scams. In a dark web chat room, the defendant and his accomplices arranged to meet with other users to commit other crimes in 2015. According to the court records, the 22-year-old’s task was to call several police stations and threaten them with committing “rampages”. Although, the court has heard that neither the defendants nor his accomplices considered committing the rampages. These only resulted in certain safety measures taken by law enforcement authorities.
The 22-year-old was identified by the police and arrested for his acts. Investigators even searched the home of the suspect to gather further evidence in the case. As a protocol during house searches concerning internet crime, law enforcement authorities most possibly confiscated the electronic devices of the defendant. Investigators could easily discover the fraudulent activities of the 22-year-old on the devices. The defendant stood before the court for the false threats in 2016. The judge at the time gave him a sentence of two years probation, which is yet to expire.
“The darknet lacks the social control. He [the defendant] has lost the ground under his feet,” Thomas Skapczyk, defending the 22-year-old, informed the court and told the judge about the positive social prognosis of his client. Judge Karin Frank-Dauphin has heard that one of the most important goals for the 22-year-old now is to start vocational training.