US Government Seizes $3.36 Billion Worth Of Crypto Found Hidden In A Popcorn Tin

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Tyler Hatcher, the Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office (IRS-CI) announced on Monday that they are seeking to forfeit $3.36 billion worth of bitcoin from a property developer who scammed Silk Road, the dark web marketplace, in 2012.

At the time of its seizure, the loot was touted as the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the history of the US Department of Justice and the Department’s second-largest financial seizure ever. It is the equivalent of about 50,676 bitcoins discovered in the raid of James Zhong’s Gainesville, Georgia residence on November 9, 2021.

Zhong, who pled guilty to one count of wire fraud on Friday before US District Judge Paul G. Gardephe, executed the scheme in September 2012 by manipulating the dark web marketplace’s withdrawal system, triggering 140 withdrawals in rapid succession to fool the system into crediting bitcoin into several external wallets.

According to the statement, Zhong hid the bitcoin “in an underground floor safe; and on a single-board computer that was submerged under blankets in a popcorn tin stored in a bathroom closet.”

“This case shows that we won’t stop following the money, no matter how expertly hidden, even to a circuit board in the bottom of a popcorn tin,” Williams said in the statement.

Law enforcement officers conducting the raid also recovered cash amounting to $661,900, 25 Casascius coins with an approximate value of 174 bitcoin, 11 additional bitcoin, and four one-ounce silver-colored bars, three one-ounce gold-colored bars, four 10-ounce silver-colored bars, and one gold-colored coin.

Zhong faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Gardephe on February 22.

Information for this briefing was found via the US Department of Justice, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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