DA Vance: Three Indicted For Robbery of $1.8 Million in Cryptocurrency


June 12, 2018

Defendants Worked Together to Carry Out Kidnapping and Obtain Access to Victim’s Digital Wallet

Louis Meza Previously Indicted For Coordinating Robbery And Theft With Co-Defendants

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of CESAR GUZMAN, 38, ALLAN NUNEZ, 36, and DARRELL COLON, JR., 37, for participating in the kidnapping, armed robbery, and theft of more than $1.8 million in Ether, a cryptocurrency. The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree, Kidnapping in the Second Degree, and Robbery in the First Degree, among other charges.[1]

“Investors aren’t the only ones tracking the fluctuating values of digital currencies—everyone from sophisticated cybercriminals to old-school shakedown-and-stick-up scammers are keeping a close eye, too,” said District Attorney Vance. “More than $1 billion in cryptocurrency has already been stolen in 2018, according to a recent industry report. As alleged in this case, the defendants worked together to carry out a kidnapping, armed robbery, and theft of more than $1.8 million in cryptocurrency, in a violent attack that demonstrates the vanishing line between street crime and cybercrime.”

The indictment of GUZMAN, COLON, and NUNEZ follows the earlier arrest and indictment of LOUIS MEZA, who is charged with working with the defendants to coordinate the kidnapping and robbery of one of MEZA’s acquaintances, who was known to be in possession of a digital wallet containing approximately $1.8 million in Ether.

According to the indictments and documents filed in court, on November 4, 2017, MEZA arranged a meeting with the victim. Once the meeting concluded, MEZA told the victim that he had ordered a car service to take the victim home, and directed the victim toward a waiting minivan. Unbeknownst to the victim, MEZA was working with GUZMAN, who had recruited COLON and NUNEZ, to execute the robbery plan.

NUNEZ, acting as the supposed hired driver of the minivan, picked the victim up and began driving uptown. During the ride, COLON, who was hiding in the rear of vehicle, appeared suddenly, threatened the victim with what appeared to be a firearm, and demanded that the victim turn over his phone, wallet, house keys, and other property. The victim was subsequently held and driven around for approximately two hours, during which time the victim’s belongings were provided to MEZA.

While NUNEZ and COLON continued to drive around with the victim, GUZMAN and MEZA went to the victim’s apartment building, where surveillance video captured MEZA using the victim’s keys to gain entry to the apartment unit. In the car, COLON then questioned the victim about the location of the saved passphrase associated with the victim’s digital wallet and relayed the information to GUZMAN. GUZMAN, in turn, provided the information to MEZA, who located the items in question and left the apartment building with a box containing the victim’s digital wallet. Soon after obtaining the wallet, MEZA transferred approximately $1.8 million in Ether to his personal account.

The victim was eventually able to escape from the vehicle and call 911.

Assistant D.A. James Vinocur and Assistant D.A. Jessica Peck are handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Jeremy Glickman, Deputy Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, and Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Supervising Rackets Investigators Gregory Dunlavey and Max Adler, Investigators Louis Capolupo, Thomas Mullin, Frank Toro, Patrick Ludlow, William Burmeister, Peter Tran, Binguyeneza Fonseca-Sabune, Brian Conway, Erin Mulderig, and Michael O’Brien, Investigation Consultant Alexander Antes, High-Tech Analysis Unit Analysts Douglas Daus and Laurence Hayes, and Senior Cybercrime Analyst Margaret Lovric provided additional assistance with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance also thanked the NYPD for their assistance with the investigation, and in particular, Police Officer Timothy Kraft of the 34th Precinct Detective Squad and Detective Ramon Velez of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau Squad.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

CESAR GUZMAN, a/k/a “Fuego”, D.O.B. 3/27/1980
Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Kidnapping in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Robbery in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree, class B felony, 1 count
  • Burglary in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

ALLEN NUNEZ, a/k/a “Joker”, D.O.B. 5/8/1982
Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Kidnapping in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Robbery in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree, class B felony, 1 count
  • Burglary in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

DARRELL COLON, JR., a/k/a “Bishop”, D.O.B. 1/24/1981
Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Kidnapping in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Robbery in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree, class B felony, 1 count
  • Burglary in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count