US stop pursuit of Dublin bitcoin hacker Conor Freeman
20 Jan 2021

The United States is no longer seeking the surrender of a Dublin computer hacker for the theft of over $2 million in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies after his conviction here, the High Court was told.

Conor Freeman is no longer facing a maximum possible sentence of 108 years in prison after a sentence of two years and 11 months was imposed on him here.

Siobhán Ni Chúlacháin BL, for the attorney general, told Mr Justice Paul Burns yesterday that Freeman was already serving a sentence in Ireland that arose from the same offences and had not lodged any appeal.

Freeman, 21, of Glenageary Court, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, was jailed by Dublin circuit criminal court in November for just under three years, after pleading guilty to knowingly engaging in the possession of the proceeds of crime — namely 142.75682712 bitcoin.

Ms Ní Chúlacháin told Mr Justice Burns that she was handing a US diplomatic note into the court confirming the formal withdrawal of Freeman’s extradition warrant of 20 May, 2019.

Ms Ní Chúlacháin said that because Freeman had been convicted and sentenced in the interim and that no appeal had been filed on either his or the DPP’s behalf, the US no longer sought his surrender.

The surrender of Freeman, who appeared by video-link from Mountjoy Prison, had been sought on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud and four counts of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft in 2018. Had he been convicted in the US, Freeman was facing a maximum of 108 years in prison.

Mr Paul Carroll SC, defending Freeman, had previously told the court that there was an expectation that because of his client’s co-operation with authorities in Ireland and the US, the extradition request would be withdrawn.

Freeman, who was described in that court as a “loner”, had pleaded guilty to stealing $100,000 in cryptocurrency from Darran Marble on May 15, 2018, stealing cryptocurrencies with an approximate value of $1,921,335, from Seth Sharpiro on May 16, 2018, and stealing cryptocurrencies with an approximate value of $167,622.22 from Micheal Templeman on May 18, 2018.

By Paul Neilan, The Times, 19 January 2021

Read more at The Times

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