Extortionist threatened to poison Albert Heijn shoppers in Dark Net bitcoin scam: Court

The court in Noord-Holland on Friday sentenced a 23-year-old man to two years in prison, one of which conditionally suspended, for attempting to extort Albert Heijn's parent company Ahold by threatening to poison the supermarket chain's customers. The man will also be on probation for three years, the court said in a ruling issued Friday.

Since November 2016, Ahold received multiple emails stating that products in Albert Heijn supermarkets would be poisoned if the company does not pay a large amount of bitcoins to the sender. Packages with toxic substances were sent to Ahold, but intercepted before any harm could be done, was revealed in court. Ahold did not pay the perpetrator, and Albert Heijn customers were not affected in any way. 

Investigation led to the authorities to the then 20-year-old suspect. The police found that he had been active on the Dark Net for some time, where he was selling electronics templates and a manual written by himself on how to print counterfeit money. Undercover officers managed to buy two such templates from him. 

The defended told the court that he was threatened into performing certain acts by someone else, but that he had nothing to do with the attempts to extort Ahold. The court did not find this credible.

He was found not guilty of trying to scam Apple into sending him a laptop, by using the Apple account and associated credit card of another person. According to the court there was not enough evidence to prove this fact.

The Public Prosecutor had demanded 4 years in prison against the suspect. The court gave him a lower sentence taking into account that he was acquitted of the Apple scam, only 20 years of age when he committed the offenses, had a clean criminal record up to that point, and the fact that this case took over three years to come to a conclusion.