Jonathan Toebbe, a nuclear engineer for the United States Navy, and his wife Diana, were arrested for selling information on the design of nuclear-powered warships in exchange for $ 100,000 in the private cryptocurrency monero (XMR).
The story of the couple, originally from Maryland, took an unexpected turn when they believed they were getting a supposed buyer who represented a foreign power. This turned out to be a undercover agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Federal agents arrested Jonathan and Diana Toebbe last 9 October, while they made a delivery of information in the state of West Virginia , reported the authorities.
The alarms were activated for the agencies of intelligence in December 2020 when an FBI agent received a package that allegedly contained confidential information and that had been sent by Toebbe.
The authorities reported that the military also had access to information related to sensitive military design elements , operational parameters and performance characteristics of reactors for nuclear-powered warships.
“The complaint accuses a plot to transmit information related to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” said the tax he United States General Merrick B. Garland.
A pack of gum sold for USD 70,000 in monero
The beginning of communication between the military of the Navy and the supposed representative of the foreign government, began in December 2020 and was maintained until a few days ago. At that time, the broker sent $ 10,000 worth of XMR to Toebbe to earn his trust .
Having already gained their trust, and after several communications, Toebbe made the first delivery of information inside an SD card, which he left in a place previously agreed, accompanied by his wife Diana. That action led to another payment, this time it was USD 20,000 in XMR.
Months later, the military would make another delivery of an SD card hidden in a pack of gum, which produced another disbursement by the FBI, but this time it was USD 70,000 in XMR, moment in which the couple was arrested .
Monero and your privacy is exploited by illegal markets
The use of monero in some fraudulent activities, such as those carried out by Toebbe and his wife, is due to the fact that the transactions in XMR are not public. That is, only the sender and the receiver can see the addresses that participate in a transaction and the amount traded, unlike what happens with other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC).
In fact, bitcoin has always been associated with illegal darknet markets, but monero has gained ground in this regard by becoming one of the preferred cryptocurrencies of groups that operate illegally in the ecosystem, as reported by CriptoNoticias.
In the darknet you can acquire illicit products such as drugs of all kinds, stolen credentials to access multiple websites and even falsified documents from change of monero to provide privacy and anonymity.