The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), has announced seizure of cryptocurrency worth of a massive $3.36Bn, in what is being termed as one of the biggest such seizures in the short history of digital currencies. The seizure happened in November last year. On November 4th this year, James Zhong pled guilty to committing wire fraud in September 2012, having unlawfully obtained over 50,000 Bitcoin from the Silk Road dark web.
On November 9, 2021, in an extensive search of Zhong’s Gainesville, Georgia house, law enforcement seized approximately 50,676.17851897 Bitcoin, then valued at over $3.36 billion. This seizure was then the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice and today remains the Department’s second largest financial seizure ever.
Silk Road, as a dark web black market launched back in 2011 and later uncovered, which was known to be involved in several money laundering schemes. These included not just illegal occupation of cryptocurrencies, but also drug trafficking using crypto, among others.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “James Zhong committed wire fraud over a decade ago when he stole approximately 50,000 Bitcoin from Silk Road. For almost ten years, the whereabouts of this massive chunk of missing Bitcoin had ballooned into an over $3.3 billion mystery. Thanks to state-of-the-art cryptocurrency tracing and good old-fashioned police work, law enforcement located and recovered this impressive cache of crime proceeds.
Law enforcement also recovered $661,900 in cash, 25 Casascius coins of bitcoin (valued at about 174 bitcoin), an additional 11.116 bitcoin and a handful of silver- and gold-colored bars.