Cryptojacker Charged with Defrauding Two Cloud Providers of $3.5M

United States prosecutors have filed charges against a Nebraska man accused of a cryptojacking scheme that allegedly defrauded two cloud providers – one headquartered in Seattle and the other in Redmond, Washington – of $3.5 million.

Prosecutors allege that the cryptojacking scheme yielded cryptocurrency mining valued at almost $1 million.

Cryptojacker Charged in $3.5 Million Scheme

Charles O. Parks III, also known as “CP3O,” was charged with wire fraud and money laundering offenses for allegedly orchestrating a large-scale illegal “cryptojacking” operation.

According to the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office, Parks defrauded two cloud computing providers of $3.5 million to mine approximately $970,000 worth of cryptocurrencies, including Ether, Litecoin, and Monero, using the companies’ resources without authorization.

Prosecutors claim that Parks used the ill-gotten gains for extravagant purchases, including a luxury Mercedes Benz, jewelry, and first-class hotel and travel expenses. Notably, Parks was arrested on Friday, April 13, and faces a combined maximum sentence of 50 years.

The indictment alleges that Parks created multiple accounts with a subsidiary of “Company 1,” a cloud computing and consumer electronic device company based in Seattle, Washington, and “Company 2,” a firm specializing in personal computers and related services headquartered in Redmond, Washington.

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement that the office is committed to prosecuting criminal actors who use sophisticated technology for fraudulent activities.

Park’s Calculated Fraud Moves

From January to August 2021, Parks employed various aliases, corporate affiliations, and email addresses, including those associated with companies he registered – MultiMillionaire LLC and CP3O LLC – to establish accounts at the cloud computing providers. This allowed him access to heightened services and benefits, such as high cloud computing services and deferred billing accommodations.

The indictment suggests he laundered some of the illegally mined cryptocurrency through “Cryptocurrency Exchange 1,” a decentralized company with no headquarters. The other funds were laundered through a payments provider, bank accounts, and a New York City-based nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace.

Parks evaded federal law’s $10,000 minimum transaction reporting requirements by structuring payments in amounts just below the threshold. Prosecutors claim multiple instances where Parks made transactions of $9,999 and smaller sums from crypto exchanges to a bank account.

Despite having one account suspended for nonpayment and fraudulent activity, Parks allegedly created a new account with the provider within a day. He reportedly consumed over $2.5 million of services from the Seattle-based provider.

Prosecutors further alleged that Parks employed similar tactics to defraud the Redmond-based provider of more than $969,000 in cloud computing and related services.

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