A US Nuclear Engineer and his wife sold SD cards containing classified data in exchange for tens of thousands worth of crypto. The contact was an undercover FBI agent. Hence, they got caught and charged for espionage and selling restricted data.
Jonathan and Diana Toebbe live in West Virginia. Toebbe served as a nuclear engineer to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. In April 2020, the FBI doubted Toebbe after catching him sending a package containing sample data and instructions. This package had details on establishing covert communications and how to purchase more information.
An undercover FBI agent sent $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Toebbe after receiving some classified data. However, the couple hid the SD card in a “dead drop” containing more information inside half a peanut butter sandwich. Agent further paid $20,000 in crypto for the decryption keys.
Moreover, the FBI undercover agent paid a further $70,000 worth of crypto to the Nuclear Engineer for more data on US nuclear submarines. After this drop, the FBI and the NCIS caught the couple on Saturday, Oct. 9. Here is a statement from Attorney General Merrick B.:
“The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation.”
Meanwhile, the couple will appear in federal court this Tuesday, Oct. 12. However, this is not the first time when US federal agencies have targeted criminal activity levering cryptocurrency. In August, the US State Department started compensating via crypto through its “Rewards for Justice” website in exchange for information leading to capture high-ranking foreign terrorism suspects.