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The DOJ seizes $34 million in cryptocurrency from a dark web vendor

According to the DOJ, this is one of the largest bitcoin forfeiture actions ever filed.

The Southern District of Florida successfully took about $34 million in coins and tokens from a vendor on the dark web in what the DOJ considers one of the largest cryptocurrency civil forfeiture lawsuits in US history.

According to a recent press release, the illicit cryptocurrency was confiscated from a South Florida individual who utilized an online alias to sell over 100,000 criminal items across dark web markets. The majority of the sales are reported to be based on compromised account information from a variety of big providers, including HBO, Netflix, Uber, and others.

Prosecutors from the Southern District of Florida claim the resident utilized TOR (The Onion Router) to access the dark web before converting one cryptocurrency to another to conceal its source. This sequence of events is known as chain hopping, and it is considered a kind of money laundering, which is obviously illegal at both the federal and state levels.

The profits of the illegal sales were eventually deposited in random increments at random times in specific crypto wallets, which were later retrieved by law enforcement. Authorities seized about 919.3 Ethereum, 643 Bitcoins, 640 Bitcoin Gold, 640 Bitcoin Cash, and 640 Bitcoin SV between May 16th and June 19th, 2017.

According to the Department of Justice, the civil forfeiture filing is the outcome of Operation TORnado, a combined investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) across several federal, state, and local authorities.

However, while the $34 million sum (which was valued as much as $47 million at one point according to court documents) is significant, considering the growing popularity of cryptocurrency, it is unlikely to remain one of the greatest seizures for long.


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