AFP cop William Wheatley accused of stealing Bitcoin now worth $6M

An AFP cop has been accused of stealing Bitcoin discovered during a police raid, with the value of the cryptocurrency now worth $6m.

William Wheatley has been accused of stealing Bitcoin after a police raid at Hoppers Crossing in 2019. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui

It was an accused crooked cop’s connection to a lady friend that put him in the can for an alleged theft of 81 stolen crypto belonging to a suspected peptide crime ring, a court has heard.

An intelligence unit probing the missing Bitcoin – currently worth $6m – found at a Hoppers Crossing steroid trafficking raid ended up linking Australian Federal Police officer William Wheatley to the theft through a woman’s Richmond address.

Ashley Tell’s home location was uncovered in an IP address search linked to the stolen Bitcoin as authorities were treating the AFPs cyber team as prime suspects, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday.

“The link there was purely between (Mr Wheatley) and Ms Tell, we went through 10 members of the cyber team – only he had a connection to her,” Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity senior intelligence analyst Anthony Todd-Egglestone told Mr Wheatley’s defence lawyer.

“All the evidence that we’ve collected goes back to your client.”

ACLEI started probing the AFPs entire cyber unit after its IP address at federal police headquarters on Latrobe St was found to have dealt with the stolen coins.

Five staff were looked at more closely after it was found they were all on-shift when the police IP address was used on February 8, 2019.

But Mr Wheatley became the target when Ms Tell’s Richmond home popped up in another search.

It comes after the court earlier heard Mr Wheatley is facing corruption and money laundering charges after he was accused of stealing the 81 Bitcoin from an alleged drug trafficker.

The 45-year-old allegedly stole the cryptocurrency found on a device during a police raid into a “steroid trafficking ring” in Hoppers Crossing, on January 25, 2019.

The court on Wednesday heard that a “metallic device” that looked like an “overgrown dog tag” with digits on it was found at the property raided as part of Operation Viridian, a joint venture between AFP and Victoria Police.

William Wheatley is seen outside the Magistrates Court during his Committal for charges of corruption alongside theft and money-laundering offences after an internal investigation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui

“Ever seen one of these?” federal agent Jesse Whyte wrote in a message to his AFP offsider and cyber team specialist, Mr Wheatley, who wasn’t at the raid.

Attached was an image of a Bitcoin hardware wallet located under a desk at the property, where Mr Whyte said an “overwhelming amount of peptides” was discovered.

The agent told the court he didn’t know anything about computer crime, and that he must have contacted Mr Wheatley for advice.

According to court documents, police couldn’t crack into the crypto wallet for more than three weeks, when they discovered 81 Bitcoin on the device had been moved into an unknown wallet just four days after they seized it.

At the time, the crypto was worth $452.5k.

It now has a price tag of $6.36m.

Police were unable to track the currency and considered the matter over with, using the incident as a training example of the “unique risks posed by cryptocurrency”.

That was until 2021, when Victoria Police got a new tracing program and set up a “cold case” team that discovered the Bitcoin was moved on January 29 into another wallet, then to other wallets and traded into other coins until April 9.

The currency was tracked to an international crypto exchange called Binance, with the cyber crime unit then finding IP addresses linked to the stolen coin.

One account holder was found to be based at 383 Latrobe St Melbourne — then the AFP’s Melbourne headquarters.

In a witness statement, Cyber Crime Detective Sergeant Dion Achtypis said he “formed the opinion” that a police member may have been involved in moving the currency and alerted his senior manager.

The probe led to police getting a warrant to search Mr Wheatley’s Kensington home in December 2022.

Mr Wheatley is facing charges including theft, dealing in Bitcoin that was the suspected proceeds of crime, dishonestly obtaining property owned by Victoria Police and using information he obtained as a Commonwealth public official with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a benefit for himself.

Magistrate Malcolm Thomas asked both the prosecution and defence to turn their minds to whether Bitcoin could be considered property, or whether just the crypto wallet could be considered property but information could not.

The committal hearing testing the evidence against Mr Wheatley was expected to finish on Thursday, but will now continue on Friday.

This is just one instance of the public news media informing the people about a corrupt cop, but the reality is that many more corrupt cops are deliberately hidden by the media and government from the public’s view.

Will William Wheatley factually be incarcerated or will the corrupt judiciary give him a ‘good behaviour’ don’t do it again sentence?


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