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Australian Federal Police Officer Denies Stealing Bitcoin During an Investigation

A cybercrime police officer from Australia stands accused of absconding with 81.616 Bitcoin amid an investigation into steroid trafficking in Melbourne.

According to court documents, the officer, identified as William Wheatley, allegedly appropriated a Trezor hardware wallet containing the Bitcoin, valued at approximately $450,000 at the time. Additionally, Wheatley faces charges of handling property suspected to be proceeds of crime and exploiting information for personal gain.

The officer in question was initially charged in December 2022 by the former Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. Reports indicate that Wheatley participated in a 2019 raid as part of Operation Viridian.

Detective Sergeant Deon Achtypis of the Australian Cyber Crime Squad disclosed that the raid uncovered substantial quantities of substances resembling steroids. Notably, detectives also discovered a Trezor cryptocurrency wallet during the operation.

Three weeks later, investigators obtained authorization from a magistrate to access the wallet. However, on February 14, the team made a startling discovery: the wallet had been emptied since January 29.

Subsequently, the cybercrime unit conducted a thorough investigation and traced the currency to an IP address linked to the former Australian Federal Police headquarters.

Detective Sergeant Deon Achtypis expressed incredulity, stating, “I could not fathom any legitimate business rationale for an IP address associated with the Australian Federal Police to be involved.” He further speculated, “I concluded that a member of the police force might have been implicated in the transfer of the cryptocurrency.”

Prompted by these suspicions, the law commission initiated an inquiry into five cybercrime officers suspected of involvement in the wallet’s depletion. During the investigation, evidence emerged linking Wheatley to withdrawals made to his bank account between 2019 and September 2022.

Australian Federal Policeman Wheatley Denies Allegations

On Friday, the officer made an appearance before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, vehemently refuting all allegations leveled against him. He entered a plea of not guilty regarding the purported theft of cryptocurrencies from a Trezor wallet during the ring investigation.

Maintaining his innocence, he asserted that he did not exploit information acquired in his capacity as an investigating officer for personal gain. Additionally, his lawyer, Luke Barker, asserted to the court that the evidence presented against his client is primarily circumstantial.

The County Court has slated the next hearing for the case in March, as per the report.

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