The United States Government Has Taken Control of 50,000 Bitcoins in Connection with Silk Road
In connection with Silk Road, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and Special Agent Tyler Hatcher have said that $3.36 billion worth of bitcoin (BTC) has been seized.
Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the head of IRS Criminal Investigation have both talked about the 2012 seizure of more than 50,000 BTC in connection with the dark web marketplace Silk Road.
“In November 2021, police found over 50,676 bitcoins hidden in devices in the home of defendant James Zhong.” ZHONG has now pleaded guilty to illegally getting those bitcoins from the Silk Road Dark Web in 2012.” In a press release, the Department of Justice says
In November 2021, James Zhong was charged with illegally getting 50,676 BTC worth $3.36 billion.He recently pleaded guilty to the charges against him. In a statement released on Monday, attorney Damian explained what had happened.
The statement said that in September 2012, Zhong got more than $50,000 through wire fraud on the Silk Road marketplace on the dark web. Nine years later, American police raided Zhong’s home in Gainesville, Georgia, as part of an investigation. As a result, BTC tokens were taken away from Zhong. Last Friday, Zhong said that he was guilty of the charges.
In addition to the bitcoins, the police also took $661K and several pieces of precious metal from Zhong’s house. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement that the seizure was the largest in U.S. history at the time and is still the second largest, just behind the DoJ’s arrest of two people in February for plotting to launder up to $4.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency.
“Thanks to cutting-edge cryptocurrency tracking and good old-fashioned police work, law enforcement was able to find and take back this impressive stash of stolen money.” “This case shows that we won’t stop following the money, no matter how well it’s hidden, even if it leads us to a circuit board in the bottom of a popcorn tin,” Attorney Williams said in response to the news.
After Zhong’s recent guilty plea, U.S. Judge Paul Gardephe issued an order of forfeiture for Zhong’s 80% stake in a Memphis-based company called RE&D Investments, LLC, his 50K+ BTC, and all the gold and silver that were taken from his home.
When he talked about the situation, Special Agent Hatcher pointed out how complicated Zhong’s plan to steal from the Silk Road was. Hatcher also said that his office would keep working with the U.S. Attorney’s office to stop frauds like this one.
The U.S. government has been pretty active in fighting crypto-related crimes, which have been on the rise as more people start using cryptocurrencies. In September, the FBI and private investigators got their hands on $30 million that had been stolen by hackers from North Korea.
A CNBC report says that more than 90% of the assets that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service seized last year were cryptocurrencies. The report also said that these crypto assets are usually sold after a court order, with the money going to the crime victims or to different government agencies.