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The U.S. Department of Justice seized $3.36 billion in bitcoin from an unverified Silk Road dark web marketplace user that acquired 50,000 bitcoins in the last decade.
According to the reports, an individual named James Zhong of Gainesville, Georgia, pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud in September 2012, and almost in the same decade, Zhong collected 50,676.17851897 bitcoin via the infamous Silk Road.
The authorities collected the stolen funds from Zhong’s home. They seized the bitcoin via an underground floor safe planted by Zhong in a single-board computer, hidden under blankets in a popcorn tin in a bathroom closet. Additionally, law authorities found $661,900 in cash, 25 bitcoin Casascius coins (worth around 174 bitcoin), an extra 11.116 bitcoin, and a few silver and gold-colored bars.
The U.S. Department of Justice busts one of the biggest crypto scams
The U.S. authorities have been on the lookout for this massive Bitcoin trail for almost ten years. It confirmed that Zhong’s case was the second-biggest financial seizure in the history of the U.S. DOJ and the most prominent cryptocurrency seizure ever made.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said, “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, law enforcement located and recovered this impressive cache of crime proceeds. 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.”
Among the biggest crypto and scam companies, the Silk Road was a big marketplace on the black market where criminals and hackers usually did business. It was founded by an anonymous member named “Dread Pirate Roberts ‘.
The marketplace was infamous for money laundering campaigns and was used as a platform for criminals to sell drugs using bitcoin as payment. After its discovery, the U.S. government shut down Silk Road, and in 2015, a jury found Ross Ulbricht guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.