Bitcoin illustration
Image via Pixabay

The Department of Justice announced Monday that it has filed a civil complaint in San Diego federal court to return more than $154 million allegedly stolen from a subsidiary of Sony by one of its employees.

The civil forfeiture complaint alleges that Sony Life Insurance Company Ltd. employee Rei Ishii embezzled funds from the company in May and diverted them to an account he controlled at a La Jolla bank. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Ishii moved the funds by falsifying transaction instructions when the Tokyo-based company attempted to transfer funds between its accounts.

Ishii, who is being criminally prosecuted in Japan, then converted the funds to Bitcoin cryptocurrency, according to the complaint.

The Bitcoins are valued Monday at more than $180 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which said the funds were seized by law enforcement earlier this month following an FBI investigation into the alleged theft.

Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said, “It is our intent to return the stolen money to the victim of this audacious theft, and today’s action helps us do that.”