Fed in Miami Confiscates over 700 BTC in one of America’s Largest Seizures.
In an unusual move, the Fed in Miami, Florida, has seized $34 million worth of BTC (about 700 BTC at the current rate). The confiscated BTC belonged to a resident of Parkland suspected of selling internet users’ private information for Bitcoin.
The suspect allegedly sold people’s account information from HBO, Netflix, Uber, and other significant companies on the dark web. According to prosecutors, the unnamed suspect has carried out over 100,000 fraudulent transactions from 2015 to 2017.
According to the Miami Herald:
“Operation TORnado was investigated by agents of the FBI, Internal Revenue Service, and Homeland Security Investigations. The Miami federal prosecutors who filed the case are Monique Botero, Mitch Hyman, Nicole Grosnoff, and Nalina Sombuntham.”
The suspect has not been charged due to insufficient evidence to file a criminal case when reporting the news. His cryptocurrency holdings, valued at $74 million at the time of filing the charge in October 2021, have only dropped in value due to the market’s correction from the all-time high.
The suspect used the Tor browser to access the dark web.
As it is popularly called, the dark web is a “network of anonymous users and hidden service websites.” The suspect is said to have used Tor, a privacy-focused browser to access the dark web to sell the information of internet users. Tor conceals the identity of its users on the internet, thus making it impossible to know their IP address or trace their transactions.
The prosecutors also say that he used tumblers, a crypto mixing service that makes it impossible to identify “tainted” cryptocurrency funds and their flows. This allowed him to move the Bitcoins and exchange them for other assets without leaving a trail, an act that violates the United States federal money laundering laws. The case has been filed as a civil case, and the suspect has not yet challenged the seizure of the funds.
Authorities stepping up to combat crypto crimes
It has been nearly impossible for regulators and authorities to trace crypto-related crimes in the last few years. However, things have changed significantly as there have been several Bitcoin seizures in 2022 alone. In February, the United States Department of Justice seized $4.5 billion in cryptocurrency stolen during a 2016 crypto exchange hack. Similar trends in Europe as authorities seek to make the crypto space safer for investors.