The Attorney General’s Office for the Southern District of New York has announced the sentence for an individual who pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges involving Bitcoin “illegally obtained” from the Silk Road marketplace in 2012.
In an April 14 announcement, the US Department of Justice said that James Zhong was sentenced to one year and one day in prison on charges related to executing a scheme to steal more than 51,680 Bitcoin (BTC). Zhong pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2022 and had been awaiting sentencing.
“Cybercriminals need to heed this message: we will track the money and hold them to account, no matter how sophisticated their plan and however long it takes,” has stated the federal prosecutor; Damien Williams.
According to Williams, Zhong stole the bitcoins in 2012 and managed to hide his crime for about 10 years before facing charges. In November 2021, US authorities seized Bitcoin holdings from Zhong’s home in the state of Georgia, finding most of the cryptocurrency in a safe and a computer hidden in a popcorn can. At the time, the coins were worth approximately $3.4 billion.
In the US Attorney’s sentencing memo for Silk Road Bitcoin stealer James Zhong: investigators seized criminal proceeds from “a single-board computer that was submerged under blankets in a popcorn tin stored in a bathroom closet.” (Sentencing is today at 3 pm). pic.twitter.com/7aamQryQ6B
—Rachel Scharf (@rscharf_) April 14, 2023
The Silk Road marketplace, defunct for about 10 years, allowed users to buy and sell illicit goods such as weapons and stolen credit card information, drawing the attention of US authorities. The creator of the platform, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested for his role in 2013 and is currently serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole.
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