Hugo Hoyland is a director in the Forensic Investigations and Intelligence practice, based in London.
Hugo specializes in accessing and analyzing digital information sources including blockchains, internet infrastructure, social media and the deep web, and combining that with traditional offline investigations techniques to combat cybercrime, maximize and safeguard investments, recover fiat and crypto assets and identify bad actors for those who are victims of frauds, thefts and hacks.
Prior to joining Kroll, Hugo worked for other investigations firms, specializing in open- and human-source intelligence, as well as for a think tank focusing on defense and diplomacy policy recommendations.
With a global remit as part of the Technology and Innovation Program, Hugo’s primary focus is on (i) solving new kinds of client issues, especially by helping to bring the full range of Kroll’s services to the crypto and blockchain industry, and on (ii) keeping Kroll at the forefront of technology-assisted investigations by enhancing and broadening the scope of Kroll’s open-source, deep web, internet infrastructure and blockchain analytics tools and methodologies.
Hugo is currently involved in several pioneering cases tracing where stolen crypto funds are now held, identifying those responsible and launching litigation to recover the assets. Cases with combined claims of $500 million—some backed by litigation funding—are currently being heard in the UK, U.S., Singapore, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands and Japan, and have already secured several orders that constitute legal firsts for crypto.
Hugo was recently the open-source lead for a project investigating a criminal gang that targeted a foreign subsidiary of a listed corporation and convinced an employee to transfer close to $300 m to 100+ bank accounts in 20+ jurisdictions. Using novel investigative techniques, including facial recognition technology and social media and internet infrastructure research, Hugo and the team identified the perpetrators to both inform civil recovery orders (leading to the recovery of most of the stolen funds) and share intelligence with criminal authorities (leading to the arrest and prosecution of most of the gang).
Hugo has also investigated several business email compromises (CEO frauds). Notably, he demonstrated that a phishing attack had enabled perpetrators to divert a $20 m payment after gaining valuable insight into the communication style, stakeholders involved and details of a financial transaction. Identifying the vector of the fraud as a cyber-related event enabled the client to move forward with a claim on their insurance.
Hugo received a M.A. in intelligence and international security and a B.A. in war studies and history from King’s College London. He is also a certified cryptocurrency investigator from CSI Tech, covering Bitcoin, Ethereum and several other blockchains.