In brief

  • A Sydney woman was jailed today in connection with a $400,000 XRP theft.
  • The court made the decision after nearly an year-long trial.
  • Her sentence marks the first instance of cryptocurrency-related jail time in Australia.

A 25-year-old woman in Sydney was sentenced to a maximum of two years and three months in jail today for stealing over 100,000 XRP tokens, according to Information Age.

The woman, Kathryn Nguyen, and an accomplice, hacked a man’s cryptocurrency account in January 2018 and changed the two-factor authentication code to her mobile number. This allowed Nguyen to transfer the victim’s XRP holdings—worth over $400,000 at the time—to her account.

Nguyen then used multiple Bitcoin exchanges to shuffle the funds. She did not cash out her illicit holdings, the report said.

But the gains did not last long. Police said Nguyen tried her hand at Bitcoin trading after the theft; eventually losing money. She then started a handbag repair business in Sydney. 

Nguyen was arrested in 2019 for stealing XRP. Image: NSW Police

Presiding judge Chris Craigie said it was a “difficult and troubling decision” to send Nguyen to prison and that her references reflected a “generous and hardworking personality.”

“A common thread was the offender’s willingness to help others. This takes on a different meaning in her willingly participating and assisting in a criminal enterprise,” said Craigie.

Nguyen’s case made her the first Australian citizen arrested and jailed over cryptocurrency theft in Australia. The country introduced rules for criminal instances back in 2018, with a few offenders already undergoing trials.

In June this year, police arrested a Sydney man in connection with creating multiple online accounts to launder funds using Bitcoin. The offender faces a maximum of ten years in jail if convicted.

Meanwhile, the convictions are a positive sign for the crypto industry. They show criminal usage can both be tracked and uncovered, bringing them on par with fiat currencies for regulators.