US DOJ seizes 50K Bitcoins related to Silk Road marketplace
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) seized over 50,000 Bitcoin from the Silk Road dark web internet marketplace and announced that James Zhong was the culprit behind the stolen crypto in Sept. 2021, according to a Nov. 7 DOJ press release.
The seizure marks the largest one the DOJ carried out at the time and the second largest financial seizure to date.
Zhong obtained the Bitcoin by allegedly scamming the Silk Road marketplace a decade ago. He defrauded the Silk Road marketplace of Bitcoin first by creating nine accounts to conceal his identity, followed by triggering more than 140 transactions in immediate succession to trick the withdrawal-processing system into funneling approximately 50,000 Bitcoin from its Bitcoin-based payment system into ZHONG’s accounts.
Zhong pled guilty to one count of wire fraud on Nov. 4, which means he could face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
‘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,’ said the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams.
Silk Road has operated as an online darknet black market from around 2011 to 2013 until it was shut down by the FBI. The platform was used by drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute massive quantities of illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to many buyers and to launder all funds passing through it.