It has long been said that crime never pays, and that was certainly true in the case of one Irish drug dealer whose stint in jail resulted in him losing account access information for cryptocurrency wallets containing some 53.6 million euros worth of btcoin. According to the Irish Times, the once-wealthy criminal had hidden the codes inside a fishing rod case that later disappeared when he was jailed in 2017.
49-year-old Clifton Collins had purchased the bulk of his bitcoin in the latter part of 2011 and early 2012, using his cannabis crop proceeds. By early 2017, he had amassed six thousand bitcoin, which he transferred into a dozen different accounts to minimize the risk of losing them to hackers. Collins reportedly printed out the key information for those accounts and hid the paper inside the aforementioned fishing rod case.
Then, when he was arrested in 2017, the rental home where he stored his belongings – including the case containing access to his fortune – suffered a break-in. Afterwards, the landlord had the property cleared of Collins’ belongings, many of which ended up in a landfill.
The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has possession of all twelve wallets and the 6.000 bitcoin they hold. Of course, they don’t actually have the money, since they lack the codes to access those funds.
CAB officers have reportedly said that they’re hopeful that future technological advances will provide a way to gain access to the cryptocurrency, which they hope to one day sell. For now, though, they’ll have to settle for the 1.5 million euros in bitcoin that they seized from his smaller accounts, and the 100,000 euros in cash that he had when they arrested him.
Meanwhile, Collins has reportedly indicated that he’s come to accept the loss as punishment for his bad decisions.