US authorities announced on Monday that they had seized bitcoins stolen from the online drug sales site Silk Road a decade ago, which were worth $3.4 billion at the time of their confiscation in November 2021.
James Zhong, 32, pleaded guilty on Friday to having stolen more than 50,000 bitcoins in September 2012, details the New York prosecutor’s office in a press release.
The virtual currencies were recovered during a search of Mr. Zhong’s home in the state of Georgia in November 2021. They were stored on devices hidden in a safe hidden under a floor and on a computer single-card card camouflaged in a metal popcorn box under blankets in a bathroom closet.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Mr. Zhong tricked Silk Road in 2012 by creating nine different accounts and quickly performing about 140 transactions in order to trick the site’s system into paying him about 50,000 bitcoins, which were in turn quickly transferred to other other addresses.
Mr. Zhong faces 20 years in prison. His sentence will be set in February.
Silk Road creator sentenced to life imprisonment
The Silk Road site was established in January 2011 and was used to sell numerous illegal goods, including $200 million worth of drugs worldwide, before being shut down by the FBI in October 2013.
Its creator, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced in 2015 to life in prison.
This is the second largest bitcoin seizure made by the US Department of Justice after the 94,000 bitcoins estimated at $ 3.6 billion recovered from a New York couple during the hacking of the trading platform. Bitfinex Virtuals in 2016.
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