News Releases

April 26, 2018: ‘Discount Bitcoin Bandits’ Charged with Robbing Would-Be Buyers

Contact: 
Paul Eakins, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A man and woman dubbed the “Discount Bitcoin Bandits” have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from people who sought to buy the cryptocurrency, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Precious Lanay Fitzgerald (dob 6/29/90) was initially charged with four counts of second-degree robbery, two counts of child abuse and one count of grand theft, all felonies, on March 19. Two new charges, one felony count each of grand theft and child abuse, were filed yesterday against her, according to the amended complaint in case BA466388.

Lawillie Joshua Hall (dob 4/2/96) was charged March 19 with two counts of second-degree robbery. Both defendants also face gun allegations, and the charges include prior conviction allegations against Fitzgerald.

The pair is scheduled for a preliminary hearing setting on Wednesday, when they are expected to be re-arraigned on the amended complaint, in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $570,000 for Fitzgerald and $200,000 for Hall.

According to prosecutors, the defendants allegedly stole $87,125 from six people from October to February by using online notices and communications advertising the sale of discount Bitcoins then stealing the victims’ payments.

In one instance, Fitzgerald is accused of receiving a money transfer from a victim but never providing the promised Bitcoin. In other instances, she allegedly met the victims in person and forcefully took the cash they had brought to purchase the Bitcoins.

Hall allegedly helped Fitzgerald in at least two of the robberies and used a handgun. An infant also allegedly was present during some of the robberies.

Fitzgerald was convicted March 22, 2010, of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm in case YA075924.

She faces a maximum possible sentence of 29 years and 18 months in state prison if convicted as charged. Hall faces up to 19 years and four months in prison.

Deputy District Attorney John C. Weller of the Cyber Crime Division is prosecuting the case.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, Robbery-Homicide Division.