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New York Man Pleads Guilty to $1.8 Million Ether Robbery

A New York man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and robbery charges in connection with the theft of $1.8 million worth of ether.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement published on Wednesday that Louis Meza, who was accused of kidnapping an unnamed individual in New York last year and stealing their ether holdings, admitted to grand larceny in the first degree and kidnapping in the second degree.

Meza was arrested in December after allegedly forcing the victim to hand over a cell phone, wallet and keys at gunpoint last November, as previously reported by CoinDesk.

Vance said in the statement:

“Meza orchestrated a 21st-century stick-up. Then 21st-century investigators brought him swiftly to justice, securing a landmark conviction in an undeveloped area of the law. Since 2010, my Office’s Cybercrime & Identity Theft Bureau has developed the expertise and technology to become a national leader in cybercrime prosecution and prevention, as underlined by this conviction and recovery of funds on the survivor’s behalf.”

While the Manhattan DA’s website states that Meza “is expected to be sentenced on September 27,” the Wall Street Journal reported that Meza agreed to a 10-year prison sentence under the terms of his plea deal. A judge will confirm or modify the sentence during a hearing later this month.

Authorities used video surveillance to confirm that Meza entered the victim’s home using the stolen keys, before exiting with a box believed to have held the victim’s digital wallet.

Meza was originally charged with criminal possession of stolen property, computer tampering, computer trespass and criminal use of a firearm on top of the charges to which he pleaded guilty.

Scales image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Chinese City Is Using Blockchain to Track Convicts on Parole

Convicts on parole in the southern Chinese city of Zhongshan can now find themselves being tracked over a blockchain network.

The justice department of Zhongshan says it has launched a blockchain-based system that can monitor the movements of ex-prisoners to improve the quality of so-called “community correction,” a local media source reported on Thursday.

The technology has apparently been deployed across various community service centers where parolees are required to check in and complete daily duties.

The department said it developed and applied the blockchain system in an effort to provide up-to-date data on each convict’s movements around the clock.

Since convicts’ data is updated in a distributed fashion, community correction staff and relevant law enforcement agencies who are given access to the network are able to know a convict’s whereabouts at any time, and thus can take necessary measures if one is breaking from the required routine.

The justice department claimed that the technology is able to reduce the manpower burden that is traditionally required to physically follow parolees when ensuring they are obeying laws and performing community service.

The Zhongshan implementation is the latest use case in which blockchain is being adopted in the legal system in China.

As CoinDesk previously reported, an internet court in the city of Hangzhou has already recognized the nascent technology as an authorized way for evidence deposition.

The major city of  Shenzhen is also turning to blockchain in the fight against tax evasion, a move made in partnership with internet giant Tencent.

City image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.