The scammer persuaded the victim to deposit money - 180 euros - on my Spanish account, promising that the money will be sent to Venezuela, and probably promising a better than official exchange rate. At the same time, that scammer requested me to send him BTC he “paid” this way. He even presented me with the bank slip. The victim never received the money in Venezuela, so filed a criminal complaint, and I was the suspect. Note that the defrauded sum is less than 400 euros, so this is only a petty crime, punishable by fine, and only non-payment of fine can land one in jail.
This happened on localbitcoins.
I call this MITM scam, but it is a bit different of classical hacked account / phished password scenario - in my case the victim wanted to send the money to the scammer, it was done by cash deposit.
The sentence - original (Spanish version)
the sentence in Spanish
The sentence - my summary
The court finally agreed that I was a middleman (talking about appelate sentece, the first instance sentence stated that I was the scammer, that I just made the promise and kept the money). But I supposedly could have known and should have known that this is a fraud.
First, because according to Spanish (or judicial?) mathematics, 0.5% of 1000 euros is 50 euros - the 0.5% figure is my profit, as reported by me at oral hearing. And 50 euros is just too much for doing almost nothing.
Second, my involvement was deemed superfluous, the victim could have sent the money directly to the fraudster. And if the final recipient (who turns out to be the fraudster) were honest, why would he use me as a middleman and split the profit with me, the judge asks. The only reason is to conceal his (the scammer’s) identity, the judge answers himself, and I should have known this. Apparently, euros and bitcoins are basically the same thing, The scammer probably told the victim he had bank account in Venezuela or he was in Venezuela or nearby, able to make cash deposit in Venezolan bank. (Or it was implied. I do not even have access to the conversation between victim and scammer.) If the victim can make the cash deposit in Spain (to me), she can as easily send money “directly” to the scammer on the other continent.
I still wonder what would happen if the victim bought bitcoins from me and sent them to the scammet - doing this in 2 steps instead of one and I would only be involved in the first step. After all, accepting bitcoins is only good for concealing identity (and perhaps drugs and terrorism), so I should have known that buyer of bitcoins is going to be defrauded. Raised that argument, ignored.
Third, I was never given the destination account in Venezuela, so I was never able to finish the task. Never mind that it was the fraudster who was supposed to send the money to Venezuela.
Finally, they quote me saying (in writing, in email to the victim after the fact) that “there are middlemen and they may defraud”. Again, just by saying this after the fact, I should have known that this is a probable scam, that there will be people gullible enough to fall for this.