Police in New Zealand today announced the seizure of over $6.2 million New Zealand dollars ($3.9 million USD) in crypto-assets and a further $800,000 ($500,000 USD) in bank funds from an alleged movie piracy fraudster.
Jaron David McIvor a 31-year-old man from Hamilton, New Zealand, was alleged by police to have committed money laundering. The police claim that McIvor accumulated his wealth from distributing copyrighted films, and laundering the proceeds.
According to additional reporting by the New Zealand Herald, authorities in New Zealand were tipped off to McIvor’s activities by the United States Inland Revenue Service back in 2016 after PayPal had provided the IRS with “Suspicious Activity Reports,” which led to McIvor.
In summer 2019, police seized around $6.2 million ($3.9 million USD) in cryptocurrency and fiat funds. This month, police seized a further $472,000 ($300,000 USD) in crypto assets, and $377,000 ($241,000 USD) in banked funds.
Detective Senior Sergeant Keith Kay, the head of the Asset Recovery Unit in the Waikato, said that, because it’s illegal to pirate movies in the US, "Introducing illicitly-obtained funds into New Zealand constitutes money laundering...regardless of where in the world the crime is committed."
Kay said that others involved in the scheme live in Canada, the US, and Vietnam. McIvor’s lawyer, Truc Tran, told the Herald that McIvor denied the allegations but has not been criminally charged. It’s not currently clear if the funds will be forfeited and criminal charges sought.