Three men were charged with robbing a New York City man of $1.8 billion in Ether, a cryptocurrency, in a November kidnapping and armed robbery plot.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance called the scheme “a violent attack that demonstrates the vanishing line between street crime and cybercrime.”
Cesar Guzman, 38, Allan Nunez, 36, and Darrell Colon Jr., 37, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges including kidnapping, robbery and burglary. Prosecutors claim the victim met in Manhattan with Louis Meza, 35, an acquaintance, who set up a phony car-service minivan to take him home. In the van were Nunez, the driver, and Colon, who was hiding in the back with a gun.
During the ride, Colon came out of hiding and threatened the victim with “what appeared to be a firearm,” and forced him to turn over his phone, wallet, house keys and other property. They drove the victim around for two hours while Guzman and Meza used the keys to steal the victim’s digital wallet, which was contained on a thumb drive. Meza later transferred $1.8 million in Ether to his own account, prosecutors said.
Meza, of Passaic, New Jersey, was charged in December with burglary, robbery and kidnapping in the case. He pleaded not guilty. The other three live in the Bronx. They face as long as 25 years in prison on the most serious charges.