Melbourne man accused of demanding crypto in bushfire threat

Cybercrime detectives have charged a Melbourne man after he allegedly threatened to start a bushfire in an attempt to extort millions of dollars.

The 27-year-old Bundoora man was charged with extortion on Monday over an online message he allegedly sent to a Queensland emergency service in October.

An emergency service was allegedly told it had three days to transfer $5 million of cryptocurrency.Credit:Paul Jeffers

The threat received by the emergency service said a bushfire would be lit if $5 million in cryptocurrency was not transferred within three days.

The emergency service then reported the message to police. No money was exchanged, and the threat was not carried out.

Victoria Police took over the investigation after authorities established the message was sent from the state.

Following what police described as an extensive investigation, detectives searched a Bundoora property last week, seizing two computers and a phone.

The man was later arrested and charged with extortion with threat to endanger life and threat to destroy/damage property.

He was also charged for drug possession and failing to provide information under warrant.

He has been released on bail, and will face Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court on August 1.

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