Silk Road Debacle: Over 50,000 BTC Worth Over $1 Billion Found in US
US authorities announced one of their biggest crypto finds after they were able to find 50,676 Bitcoins linked to the infamous dark web market, Silk Road. The amount of Bitcoin recovered is approaching an estimate of $1.04 billion (roughly Rs. 8,228 crore) at the time of writing. The information was confirmed by Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Silk Road, an online marketplace launched by dart net was launched in 2011 by Ross Ulbricht, who is currently serving time in prison.
The Bitcoin discovery was made at an address in Georgia linked to James Zhong. Precious metals and cash worth $661,900 (around Rs. 5 crore) were among the other items seized from Zhong’s property.
“In September 2012, Zhong made a plan to defraud Silk Road of its money and assets by creating a chain of approx. 9 Silk Road accounts in a manner designed to hide his identity, causing more than 140 transactions in quick succession to trick Silk Road’s withdrawal system into withdrawing nearly 50,000 Bitcoin from its Bitcoin-based payment system to Zhong’s accounts ,” reports by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) wrote in the post.
Zhong later transferred the bitcoins to a variety of different addresses and under his control.
The suspect pleaded guilty to fraud in 2012.
“Thanks to sophisticated cryptocurrency tracking and good old-fashioned police work, law enforcement has discovered and recovered this incredible cache of crime. This case shows that we will not stop going after the money, no matter how cleverly it is hidden,” added the DoJ post.
When it launched in 2011, Silk Road’s marketplace allowed the purchase of anything including banned items with Bitcoin.
Its imprisoned creator Ulbricht has been auctioning off some of his artworks in prison as NFTs to fund his legal proceedings.
Ulbricht has been in prison since October 2015 when he was sentenced to two life terms.
Meanwhile, US authorities are taking steps to ensure that crypto transactions do not become a safe tool for committing financial crimes by fraudsters.
In February this year, the DoJ tapped a veteran cybercrime prosecutor to lead its new nationwide cryptocurrency enforcement team.
Meanwhile, the US authorities had charged a married couple from New York for allegedly defrauding Bitcoins that were then worth more than $4.5 billion (roughly Rs. 33,750 crore). These were stolen in the 2016 hack of digital exchange Bitfinex.