Ten years after its disappearance, US authorities were able to seize bitcoins stolen from the “Silk Road” website, which specializes in drug trafficking, with a value of $ 3.4 billion when confiscated.
James Jong, 32, pleaded guilty to stealing more than 50,000 bitcoins in September 2012, New York prosecutors said in a statement.
The virtual currencies were recovered during a search of Jung’s home in the US state of Georgia in November 2021. They were stored in devices hidden in a safe hidden by the accused himself under the floor, and on a computer camouflaged inside a metal box of popcorn under covers in the bathroom closet.
In a statement, Attorney General Damien Williams said, “In the course of nearly a decade, the questions relating to the location of this vast, unfinished amount of Bitcoin have grown into a mystery worth more than $3.3 billion.”
“Thanks to advanced crypto-tracking technologies and good old-fashioned work with police, security forces have located this amazing cache and recovered products from criminal activities,” he added.
But the value of the refund has fallen since the operation as the price of bitcoin has fallen, and in recent hours its value has reached just over $1 billion.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office indicated that Jung deceived the Silkroad site in 2012 by creating nine different accounts and quickly conducting nearly 140 financial transactions to incentivize the site’s system to pay nearly 50,000 bitcoins to his account, before quickly transferring this amount. to other addresses.
Jung faces up to 20 years in prison. His verdict will be decided in February. The Silk Road website was established in January 2011, and was used to sell many illegal goods, including drugs worth $200 million worldwide, before it was closed down by the US Federal Police in October 2013.
The site’s founder, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015.
This is the second largest bitcoin seizure by US authorities, after 94,000 bitcoins worth $3.6 billion were seized from a New York duo during the 2016 Bitfinex hack.