The United States Department of Justice has officially filed a civil forfeiture complaint to reclaim over $150 million of embezzled funds in Bitcoin. The FBI was able to track down said funds amidst a robbery investigation that involved Sony.
The Justice Department made a statement saying ” The United States took action in a federal court today to protect and ultimately return more than $154 million in funds that were allegedly stolen from a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Group Corporation and then seized by law enforcement during the FBI’s investigation of the theft.”
“Those funds were seized by law enforcement on December 1, 2021, based on the FBI’s investigation,” the Justice Department further stated.
The employee at Sony has been identified by the Justice Department as Rei Ishii. Ishii was an employee for a Sony Group subsidiary named Sony Life Insurance Company Ltd.
According to the Justice Department, the company attempted to transfer these funds between their very own financial accounts, during which Ishii ‘allegedly’ diverted the $154 million in question.
The Justice Department also claims that he’s falsified transactions, which has led to funds being diverted from a company controlled account, to an account that’s owned and controlled by Ishii by a California located bank. After that, Ishii was allegedly said to have converted the money into Bitcoin. The aforementioned forfeiture was filed in California in order to protect Sony’s funds.
Various other law enforcement entities such as the National Police Agency of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and the Japan Prosecutors Unit of Emerging Crimes joined in on the investigation, lending a hand to the Feds.
Citibank and Sony were among those aiding the investigation as well. According to FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner, both companies “immediately contacted and cooperated with law enforcement as soon as the theft was detected.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman also made a statement, saying “It is our intent to return the stolen money to the victim of this audacious theft, and today’s action helps us do that.”
He continued, “You cannot rely on cryptocurrency to hide your ill-gotten gains from law enforcement. The United States coordinates extensively with its international partners to forestall crime and retrieve stolen funds.”