Feds seize $28M in bitcoins

Feds seize $28M in bitcoins

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The United States Attorney in New York says about $28 million worth of bitcoins have been seized from a man charged with operating a notorious online drug marketplace known as Silk Road.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said approximately 144,226 bitcoins were found on computer hardware belonging to Ross William Ulbricht.

Ulbricht went by the name "Dread Pirate Roberts" as he ran the Silk Road website, a hidden website designed to enable its users to buy and sell illegal drugs and other goods and services anonymously.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "With his arrest and our subsequent seizures of millions of dollars worth of Silk Road's Bitcoins, we have sent a clear message to him and everyone else running criminal enterprises on the dark web: we are determined and equipped to hold you to account."

Federal authorities in New York have charged Ulbricht with three felonies related to the operation of the website. He was sent to New York from California earlier this month.

Federal law enforcement agents have now seized a total of approximately 173,991 bitcoins in connection with the Silk Road case, which, at today's bitcoin exchange rate, are worth over $33.6 million.

The bitcoins have been seized in connection with a civil action previously filed in Manhattan federal court on September 30, 2013, seeking the forfeiture of all assets of Silk Road, including its website and all of its bitcoins because those assets allegedly were used to facilitate money laundering and constitute property involved in money laundering.

"Ulbricht's goals were to make millions from drug use and money laundering while protecting the world's criminals from law enforcement," DEA agent in charge Brian Crowell said. "Our goal is to shut these people down and protect our children and DEA will continue to be relentless in this effort."

The Feds have called Silk Road the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet during its approximately two-and-a-half years in operation. It's estimated that the site facilitated approximately $1.2 billion in sales and approximately $80 million in commissions.

In addition to drugs, prosecutors say other illicit goods and services were also openly bought and sold on Silk Road.   They said that on September 23, 2013, there were: 159 listings under the category "Services," most of which offered computer-hacking services, such as a listing by a vendor offering to hack into social networking accounts of the customer's choosing; 801 listings under the category "Digital goods," including malicious software, hacked accounts at various online services, and pirated media content; and 169 listings under the category "Forgeries," including offers to produce fake driver's licenses, passports, Social Security cards, utility bills, credit card statements, car insurance records, and other forms of false identification documents.

The only form of payment accepted on Silk Road was Bitcoins, an anonymous, decentralized form of electronic currency, existing entirely on the Internet and not in any physical form.

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Astorino blasts Cuomo over Moreland Commission

    Astorino blasts Cuomo over Moreland Commission

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:54:36 GMT
    In 2013, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo created a state panel to investigate public corruption, called the Moreland Commission. But the governor is accused of interfering with investigations and compromising the commission's work. Republican Astorino, who is running against Cuomo, claimed Cuomo didn't hand over evidence to State Police. Astorino wants a special prosecutor to find out if any state and federal laws were broken.
    In 2013, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo created a state panel to investigate public corruption, called the Moreland Commission. But the governor is accused of interfering with investigations and compromising the commission's work. Republican Astorino, who is running against Cuomo, claimed Cuomo didn't hand over evidence to State Police. Astorino wants a special prosecutor to find out if any state and federal laws were broken.
  • Terror threats at chemical plants underestimated

    Terror threats at chemical plants underestimated

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:05 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:05:38 GMT
    Congressional investigators say the government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it...
    Congressional investigators say the government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it...
  • Police: 10 arrested in North Country heroin bust

    Police: 10 arrested in North Country heroin bust

    Authorities say they've arrested 10 people accused of selling and possessing heroin and other drugs in northern New York.
    Village of Malone police, state troopers and members of the Franklin County border narcotics task force conducted raids Monday night and Tuesday. Officials say the suspects had been selling narcotics in communities near the Canadian border in northern Franklin County.
    Authorities say they've arrested 10 people accused of selling and possessing heroin and other drugs in northern New York.
    Village of Malone police, state troopers and members of the Franklin County border narcotics task force conducted raids Monday night and Tuesday. Officials say the suspects had been selling narcotics in communities near the Canadian border in northern Franklin County.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices