The U.S. Department of Justice revealed the 7th of november 2022 that a man named James Zhong admitted to stealing more than 50,000 bitcoins from the popular Silk Road darkweb marketplace in 2012. He had hidden his crypto wallet in a popcorn box stored in a bathroom closet. This is the second largest bitcoin seizure in Department of Justice history.
The seizure of the 51,676 bitcoins would have taken place in November 2021, when they were worth over $3.36 billion at the time, compared to “approximately $620,000” in 2012, and $1.02 billion at the current price.
“Specifically, law enforcement located 50,491.06251844 bitcoins: a) in a safe located in the basement; and b) on a single-board computer that was hidden under blankets in a popcorn box stored in a bathroom closet.”
Law enforcement also recovered $661,900 in cash, 25 Casascius coins (physical bitcoins) worth approximately 174 bitcoins, an additional 11.116 bitcoins, as well as four one-ounce silver bars, three one-ounce gold bars, four 10-ounce silver bars and one gold coin during the search.
Zhong further “voluntarily surrendered an additional 1,004.14621836 bitcoins” to authorities, and admitted his guilt on November 4. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
According to BBC, Zhong was able to steal money from Silk Road by exploiting a flaw in the website’s payment system. He created several accounts on Silk Road and deposited a small amount of bitcoin into his digital wallets in September 2012. He then withdrew a large amount of cryptocurrency so as not to draw attention. It is the DOJ’s second-largest financial seizure to date, following its seizure of $3.6 billion in allegedly stolen cryptocurrency from the 2016 hack of the crypto exchange Bitfinex, which it announced in February.
The robber have been catch thanks to state-of-the-art blockchain tracing technology. It allows law enforcement to trace back the stolen bitcoin that have been transferred to 10 addresses each containing 1,000 BTC, one of which was associated with the IP address of James Zhong’s computer.
Did you said popcorn time ?