Spanish "justice", fraud, MITM, convicted because 0.5% of 1000 is 50

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.

Procedural history

Hi. So the victim got in contact with you first and then pressed charges on you despite your lack of involvement?

Also the pdf seems to have personal info. I’d remove that.

Can happen with any bank.

Fraudster hacks account or convinces victim to deposit in an account belonging to a BTC seller (LocalBitcoins/Bisq/whatever).

I’m guessing fraudster got your account information from LocalBitcoins?

The problem is selling BTC (no chargeback) to new accounts. I’ve seen plenty of offers recently from a 6-day old Bisq account. I almost engaged since I was going to buy BTC (no risk of getting scammed) but I decided to stay away.

@huey Really, the victim first pressed charges, this is how she got contact info I suppose. (It is more complicated, really another victim of the same scammer contacted me first, and then gave my email to that victim. The second victim was scammed of 500 euros, I was scared so paid half of that, and no charges were pressed against me for the remaining 250 euros. and then got contacted by this victim who was scammed of 180 euros.) She asked me to give her money back, and I refused and tried to explain, and she did not believe me. She could have stopped it probably, technically she acted as a private prosecutor (and had no idea about that almost surely), if neither she nor public prosecutor had accused me, I would be acquitted for lack of accusation.

The linked sentence is publicly available, with anonymized/changed names (I am called Higinio in the sentence, far from my real name.)

@Bokehman: Yes, the scammer was buying btc from me on localbitcoins. I did not even look at the scammer’s reputation, I assumed there can be no problem with cash deposit. But I remember he had some 13 previous trades, so this would not help me. He did not even conceal that he was buying on behalf of others, but I had other buyers doing the same, so I did not see it as red flag.

(I planned to edit the original post, and cannot now, so posting here.)

Procedural history
First instance hearing was a joke. It was not even clear what I was accused of, the summons had the criminal complaint attached, and it just said that the scammer promised to send the money to Venezuela, I received the money and the promise was not fulfilled. But it was not said that I was accused of being the same person as the scammer. At the oral hearing, I could not question the victim, nor I was shown any evidence against me, nor I had a final word. Guilty of being the same person as scammer, because I did not prove that I had sent bitcoins to the scammer.

Second instance - I protested against the lack of due process, and argued I was not a scammer. OK, the judge said, but you should have known this was a probable scam, so still guilty. Note that there was no new oral hearing, just my written appeal and sentence. This new accusation has never been made before, let alone by the prosecution - the public prosecutor just reacted to my appeal by some generic statement, and the victim did not react at all.

Motion for annulment (“incidente de nulidad”) - decided by the same appellate judge. I protested against not knowing the accusation against me, and against still not knowing the evidence against me (the communication between the scammer and the victim). I mentioned the arguments against the contents of the sentence as such - basically those in my post above. Although at this stage I believe I cannot argue about facts, just about my procedural rights being infringed, I still included all arguments, so that they cannot tell that the procedural infraction is insignificant, that the result would be the same anyway. The decision: I am asking for production of evidence, and it is too late for that, I should have done that when filing the appeal. It is not even clear what evidence is meant there, because I moved to obtain IP address of the scammer, mainly to show it was not me. And I have no idea how this resolves my complaint about not knowing accusation against me, or the special judicial math used against me.

Constitutional Court - thrown away quickly, but not after forcing me to hire a lawyer. (I even argued against this, because even if someone wins at the Constitutional Court, his legal fees are not compensated. This is unlike ECHR, and a lawyer can represent himself and thus avoid fees, because some animals are more equal than others.) Declared inadmissible, so no decision on merits, because this is what they do with 99% of the complaints they receive. They did not argue this way, of course, they argued that my complaint lacks a “special constitutional significance”. Never mind that I was aware of that obstacle, and argued that the lower court ignored the case law of Constitutional Court, which I mentioned in the motion for annulment. And this is one of the ways the complaint can acquire this “special significance”, as stated by the Court itself and cited in my complaint.

European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) - I wrote there in English, to avoid the Spanish section of ECHR, because Spain has ridiculously low percentage of admitted complaints. I even translated to English the motion for annulment. Alas, they said I sent my complaint 1 day late. I am not entirely convinced, but at least it is not complete nonsense, unlike most decisions of this case.