Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida forfeited about $34 million in crypto associated with illicit dark web activity. It’s “one of the largest cryptocurrency forfeiture actions ever filed by the United States,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Asset forfeiture is a legal tool meant to deprive criminals of money they made illegally. In this case, law enforcement agents had identified a South Florida resident who was “raking in millions” by using an alias to make more than 100,000 sales of illegal items and hacked account information for services such as Netflix and Uber on dark marketplaces they accessed using the TOR Network, according to a DOJ report.
Further, the individual obscured their transaction history on the blockchain by swapping various cryptocurrencies through tumblers and dark web money transmitters, which according to the DOJ violated federal money laundering regulations. “Law enforcement agents seized various cryptocurrency wallets associated with the illegal Dark Web conduct,” according to the DOJ.
The forfeiture action itself was spearheaded by a multi-agency group called the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). According to the DOJ, “the principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, and other priority transnational criminal organizations that threaten the citizens of the United States.”