Stolen Bitcoin worth over $3 billion seized

Stolen Bitcoin worth over  billion seized

Stolen Bitcoin worth over billions seizedImage: Shutterstock

James Zhong, who had stolen over 50,000 Bitcoins in 2012 from the dark web market, Silk Road, pleaded guilty on November 4, 2022 to wire fraud. This was announced by Tyler Hatcher, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office and Damian Williams. Williams is the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York on November 7.

On November 9, 2021, law enforcement agencies searched Zhong’s house in Gainesville, Georgia, after a search warrant was issued. At a value of over $3 billion, they had seized over 50,600 Bitcoin. Zhong was a real estate developer with a majority stake in a Memphis-based company with significant real estate holdings.

“James Zhong committed wire fraud over a decade ago when he stole approximately 50,000 Bitcoins from Silk Road. For nearly ten years, the whereabouts of this huge chunk of missing Bitcoin had become a mystery worth over $3.3 billion. Thanks to state-of-the-art cryptocurrency tracking and good old-fashioned police work, the police found and recovered this impressive cache of crime proceeds.This case shows that we will not stop following the money, no matter how skillfully it is hidden, even to a circuit board at the bottom of popcorn box.”, said US Attorney William. Agencies also alleged that Zhong had tried to hide behind the “dark web” via a series of complex transactions, but failed.

Silk Road was notorious for being a dark web marketplace. It was used for various illegal activities, from the sale of drugs and other illegal services and goods to being a tool for money laundering. Founder Ross Ulbricht was subsequently sentenced to life in prison. It was revealed that Zhong had created over nine fraud accounts in Silk Road to hide his identity and had implemented over 140 transactions, one after the other, extracting over 50,000 Bitcoin and then quickly transferring the bitcoins to many separate addresses, which were also under his rule. It was a plan made in minute detail and executed accordingly.
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The government has forfeited all Bitcoin under his control and interests in various other real estate and valuable metal items. He will face up to 20 years in prison.
The author is the founder of yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash

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