The U.S. Department of Justice reported on Monday that authorities had confiscated $3.36 billion in Bitcoin from a guy who had illegally acquired more than 50,000 bitcoin on the Silk Road dark web marketplace over a decade ago.
James Zhong of Gainesville, Georgia, pleaded guilty on November 4 to committing wire fraud in September 2012, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The maximum term for the offense is 20 years behind bars.
New York Attorney Damian Williams stated,
“James Zhong committed wire fraud over a decade ago when he stole approximately 50,000 Bitcoin from Silk Road. For almost ten years, the whereabouts of this massive chunk of missing Bitcoin had ballooned into an over $3.3 billion mystery.”
“Thanks to state-of-the-art cryptocurrency tracing and good old-fashioned police work,” Damian added, “law enforcement located and recovered this impressive cache of crime proceeds.”
IRS Agent Hatcher added,
“Mr. Zhong executed a sophisticated scheme designed to steal Bitcoin from the notorious Silk Road Marketplace. Once he was successful in his heist, he attempted to hide his spoils through a series of complex transactions which he hoped would be enhanced as he hid behind the mystery of the ‘darknet.’”
Known for operating for nearly two years, the Silk Road was an infamous part of the dark web. According to the Department of Justice, the controversial network was used between 2011 and 2013 to launder money and provide illicit services.
The U.S. government later shut down Silk Road, and in 2015, Ulbricht was found guilty on all counts by a jury and given a life sentence.
Williams concluded by saying,
“This case shows that we won’t stop following the money, no matter how expertly hidden, even to a circuit board in the bottom of a popcorn tin,”
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