Thugs carried out violent home invasions to steal crypto, feds say

The leader of an international crypto ring was found guilty of pre-planning a series of violent home invasions – including assault and kidnapping – all so he and his posse could drain their victims’ cryptocurrency accounts.

On Tuesday, a North Carolina jury found 24-year-old Remy St. Felix of West Palm Beach, Florida, guilty of terrorizing and robbing dozens of cryptocurrency owners – inside their own homes – stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoin and other digital currency.

Prosecutors say the home invasions took place between September 2022 and July 2023 in multiple states, including New York, Florida, Texas, and North Carolina.

St.Felix and his co-conspirators are said to have targeted the homeowners by hacking into their email accounts and then conducting physical surveillance of the homes before carrying out the brutal robberies.

In one of the home invasions from last April, prosecutors said St. Felix and his accomplice forced their way into a married couple’s home.

The two then assaulted, zip-tied, and held the couple hostage at gunpoint, threatening more violence while other co-conspirators transferred more than $150,000 in crypto out of the victims’ accounts and into their own.

“The victims in this case suffered a horrible, painful experience that no citizen should have to endure,” said US Attorney Sandra Hairston of North Carolina’s Middle District.

“The defendant and his co-conspirators acted purely out of greed and callously terrorized those they targeted,” she said.

The FBI nabbed St. Felix three months later while he was traveling to New York to commit another home invasion. One FBI Special Agent, Robert DeWitt from North Carolina, called the crimes “shocking.”

Police say the gang would use encrypted messaging platforms to discuss how they would target the victims and launder the stolen money.

The stolen funds would be laundered through anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrencies such as Monero, as well as “instant exchanges” and decentralized finance platforms that did not conduct know-your-customer checks, the US Justice Department (DoJ) said.

St. Felix was convicted of nine counts, including conspiracy, kidnapping, Hobbs Act robbery, wire fraud, and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of crimes of violence. Sentencing is scheduled for September.

The mastermind faces a mandatory seven-years prison sentence, with a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The jury’s verdict led to more than a dozen convictions in the case. All members of the “home invasion robbery crew” were located both in the US and abroad, according to the DoJ.