‘Among Largest Forfeitures’: Crypto Assets Worth $34 Million Seized From Dark Web Seller in US

Details about the identity of the dark Web seller remain unclear.

‘Among Largest Forfeitures’: Crypto Assets Worth $34 Million Seized From Dark Web Seller in US

Photo Credit: Facebook/ Department of Justice

Fiat currencies are still chosen more over crypto assets by criminals to launder funds

Highlights
  • Tumblers were being used to launder one cryptocurrency for other
  • DoJ to continue to trace crypto criminals in US
  • Crypto sector in US remains unregulated

Police officials have confiscated crypto assets worth around $34 million (roughly Rs. 256 crore) from a dark Web seller in Florida. In an official statement, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has called this “one of the largest cryptocurrency forfeiture actions ever filed”. Law enforcement authorities had identified that the Florida resident had been raking in millions by using an online alias to make over 100,000 sales of illicit items. Crypto assets were also being misused for laundering money by the dark web seller.

‘Tumblers' and illegal dark web money transmitter services were being used to launder one cryptocurrency for another — a technique called chain hopping. The activity violates federal money laundering statutes.

Tumblers pool together multiple cryptocurrency transactions and distributes the cryptocurrency to a designated wallet at random times and in random increments. The goal is to hide the original source of funds.

“This forfeiture action is the result of Operation TORnado, a joint investigation that stems from the ongoing efforts by OCDETF, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” the DoJ said. The OCDETF, or the Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, that tackle transnational criminal organisations.

Details about the identity and arrest of the dark Web seller remain unclear. The DoJ has revealed that the person in question was selling stolen details of HBO, Netflix, and Uber accounts.

Despite rising concerns about cryptocurrencies being rampantly used by criminal activities such as money laundering, fiat is still way ahead in terms of being the preferred choice for illegal activities, as per the US Treasury.

The use of crypto assets for money laundering continues to be significantly less prevalent than the use of fiat cash and other traditional means, a recently released reports from the US government said.

The US authorities have meanwhile been keeping an eye on crypto movements as the sector remains largely unregulated for now. Just last month, US prosecutors charged two men from Los Angeles with money laundering and fraud with an NFT series called ‘Frosties'. Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna pocketed $1.1 million (roughly Rs. 8 crore) before abandoning their NFT project and leaving buyers high and dry in terms of promised benefits.


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Radhika Parashar
Radhika Parashar is a senior correspondent for Gadgets 360. She has been reporting on tech and telecom for the last three years now and will be focussing on writing about all things crypto. Besides this, she is a major sitcom nerd and often replies in Chandler Bing and Michael Scott references. For tips or queries you could reach out to her at RadhikaP@ndtv.com. More
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