Four people at the centre of a multimillion-pound cryptocurrency fraud have been jailed.
They were involved in a conspiracy to dishonestly obtain Bitcoin worth £21m between October 2017 and January 2018.
Stephen Boys, Kelly Caton, Jordan Robinson and James Austin-Beddoes were convicted of a number of fraud offences.
Boys, Caton and Robinson were jailed at Preston Crown Court, while Austin-Beddoes received a suspended sentence.
The group worked with ringleader James Parker, who died in 2021 before he could be prosecuted for masterminding the conspiracy from his Blackpool home.
The court heard he exploited a loophole to withdraw dishonestly-obtained crypto assets worth £15m from his trading account on an Australian-based cryptocurrency exchange.
Parker's associates Caton and Robinson dishonestly withdrew £2.7m and £1.7m respectively from their accounts.
Parker's financial adviser Boys worked with a UK national based in the United Arab Emirates to convert the cryptocurrency into cash.
The money was then laundered through various foreign-based online accounts.
Prosecutor Jonathan Kelleher said the group "used the internet from the comfort of their own homes to obtain tens of millions of pounds worth of Bitcoin which did not belong to them".
Boys, 59, from Accrington, was found guilty of converting and transferring criminal property and jailed for six years, while Caton, 45, from Blackpool, and Robinson, 24, from Fleetwood, both received sentences of four years six months in prison after being convicted of fraud, converting and acquiring criminal property.
Austin-Beddoes, 28, from St Annes, was found guilty of fraud and acquiring criminal property and pleaded guilty to converting criminal property earlier and was jailed for 18 months, suspended for a year.
Speaking after sentencing, the Crown Prosecution Service said a "very significant amount of the laundered assets" had since been retrieved, while further amounts were being recovered on the behalf of the Australian cryptocurrency exchange.
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