Surrey resident Sergejs Teresko had found himself in the headlines last year when the police discovered his house to be a massive cannabis factory and busted £1.25 million worth of Bitcoins at the gangster’s other semi-detached home after receiving reports about his kidnapping. Teresko’s partner and other residents of the area had called the cops after he was pushed into a car and driven off in Virginia Water, Surrey, around April last year.
When he came back safe and sound the next day, officers searched through his Cobham house to discover a keepkey device, which had stored in it £1.25 million in Bitcoins.
Also discovered was £263,000 in cash, and several designer watches and jewelry. Teresko drove a Range Rover Evoque, and he didn’t seem to have any obvious profession. He also held access to £20,000 in cash, along with jewellery, gemstones, and even gold bars all stored in a random secure deposit box. With all of the suspicious quantities of cash, added with alleges connections to the cannabis factory, Teresko was charged and arrested.
He pleaded guilty in October to the charges of money laundering, cannabis cultivation, and possession of articles meant for fraud at Kingston Crown Court. He was sentenced to 9 years and 3 months of imprisonment.
Last Thursday, a judge at the same court discovered that his profits from his activities went up to almost £2 million. He has therefore been ordered to forfeit £1.45 million, including the Bitcoin value. Teresko has also been ordered to pay an extra £13,150 within 3 months or face an extra 10 years of jail time.
Following a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, cops in Surrey have become the first UK law enforcement force to convert Bitcoin into Pounds and retain the money.
“Cryptocurrency is used legitimately by a lot of people but it’s also used by criminals. We know that in dark marketplaces Bitcoin is the chosen medium of exchange,” Detective Inspector Matt Durkin explained. “We were not going to accept that Bitcoin was out of the reach of law enforcement, it’s not and nor are other types of cryptocurrency.”