Crypto assets worth $34 million (approximately Rs. 256 crores) were seized from a Dark Web vendor in Florida by police. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has labeled this “one of the largest bitcoin forfeiture actions ever filed” in an official statement. Authorities discovered that the Florida resident had made millions of dollars by selling illegal things over 100,000 times online under an identity. The dark web vendor was also using cryptocurrency as a means of money laundering.
Chain hopping was being utilized to launder one cryptocurrency for another, using ‘tumblers’ and illegal dark web money transmitter services. The activity is illegal under federal anti-money laundering laws.
Tumblers combine many cryptocurrency transactions and deliver the cryptocurrency to a selected wallet at random intervals and durations. The goal is to conceal the source of funds.
“This forfeiture action is the result of Operation TORnado, a joint investigation that stems from the ongoing efforts by OCDETF, a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies,” according to the DoJ. The OCDETF (Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Group) is a multi-agency task force that focuses on transnational criminal organizations.
The identity of the dark Web vendor and the circumstances surrounding his arrest are unknown. The Department of Justice has disclosed that the person in issue was selling stolen HBO, Netflix, and Uber account information.
Despite growing worries that cryptocurrencies are being widely utilized in criminal operations such as money laundering, the US Treasury reports that cash remains the favored currency for illegal activity.
According to a recently released report from the US government, the use of crypto assets for money laundering is still far less common than the use of fiat currencies and other traditional methods.
In the meantime, the US government has been keeping a close eye on cryptocurrency activities, given the industry is still mostly unregulated. Last month, US authorities charged two Los Angeles individuals with money laundering and fraud in connection with the ‘Frosties’ NFT series. Before quitting their NFT project and leaving buyers high and dry in terms of promised benefits, Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna earned $1.1 million (approximately Rs. 8 crore).
The United Kingdom, on the other hand, has issued a series of ground-breaking regulations that define the crypto sector, which appears to be growing among its residents. As part of the UK’s recent pronouncements, stablecoins have been recognised as a legitimate means of payment. Tether and Binance USD are examples of stablecoins, which are crypto assets tied to reserve assets such as gold or fiat currencies. As a result, even if the crypto market is down, they can still profit from the success of the underpinning asset.