A darkweb vendor based in Florida has forfeited $34 million worth of illicitly earned cryptocurrency.
According to the announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, a judge entered a default judgment in favor of the United States government against $34 million worth of cryptocurrency seized from the darkweb vendor. The forfeiture includes 640.26804512 BTC, 640.2716098 Bitcoin Cash, 640.2715428 Bitcoin Gold, 919.30711258 ETH and 640.2716043 Bitcoin S.V.. According to federal prosecutors, the forfeiture is “one of the largest cryptocurrency forfeiture actions ever filed by the United States.”
The forfeiture action is the result of an investigation into a prolific seller of hacked online account information on an unspecified darkweb marketplace. According to investigators, in January 2017, the vendor (identified only as “Moniker 1”) had completed more than 100,000 transactions. This number increased during the investigation. The completed transactions included several purchases by undercover law enforcement officers:
On or about January 29, 2016, an undercover law enforcement officer purchased ten (10) Netflix accounts usernames and passwords from Moniker 1 on a Dark Web marketplace for approximately 0.00132443 bitcoins;
On or about April 20, 2016, an undercover law enforcement officer purchased one World Wrestling Entertainment account username and password from Moniker 1 on a Dark Web marketplace for approximately 0.01134 bitcoins;
On or about September 14, 2016, an undercover law enforcement officer purchased sixty Uber accounts usernames and passwords from Moniker 1 on a Dark Web marketplace for approximately 0.0824 bitcoins;
On or about March 7, 2017, an undercover law enforcement officer purchased three (3) Xfinity accounts usernames and passwords from Moniker 1 on a Dark Web marketplace for approximately 0.040 bitcoins; and
On or about March 13, 2017, an undercover law enforcement officer purchased one (1) HBOGO account username and password and one (1) Showtime account username and password from Moniker 1 on a Dark Web marketplace for approximately 0.0118 bitcoins.
Court documents identified Alphabay market as one of the dark web markets used by the defendant. The defendant admitted conducting “transactions using Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies” on Silk Road, Agora, Nucleus, AlphaBay, Dream Market, Abraxas, Sheep, and Evolution. I think only Alphabay and Dream meet the conditions for the market where investigators conducted undercover purchases.
“In or around 2016, law enforcement agents identified two residences in Florida linked to Moniker 1 after Moniker 1 provided the addresses as the shipping address when he or she previously purchased narcotics from Dark Web marketplaces,” according to court documents.
The person associated with the shipping addresses lived at a residence in Parkland, Florida. Investigators identified the resident. Then, presumably using a pen register, investigators monitored internet traffic to and from the Comcast I.P. address associated with the residence.