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Teen accused of virtual currency theft suspected of disrupting probe with own software

TOKYO -- An 18-year-old boy accused of illicitly obtaining 15 million yen worth of the virtual currency Monacoin is suspected of having created a computer program to obscure where the stolen cryptocurrency was transferred to, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) said.

The MPD further alleges that the boy, from Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, attempted to disrupt a probe into the online theft through the use of multiple internet anonymity programs.

Police have sent papers to prosecutors accusing the boy of fraud using a computer.

According to the MPD's cybercrime division, the boy apparently took advantage of access overload glitches in the online wallet service Monappy, which could result in excessive cash remittances. He allegedly overloaded Monappy's website by repeatedly hitting an operation button about 8,000 consecutive times via a smartphone and other means, enabling him to transfer 15 million yen worth of Monacoin into an account he manages.

The teenager had obtained a code for receiving Monacoin for free at a promotional event for the virtual currency. Although the code was effective for just one use, the boy was quoted as telling investigators that he discovered the website glitch after repeatedly hitting the button.

(Japanese original by Ikuko Ando, City News Department)

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