Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida, in the United States, successfully seized about $34 million worth of cryptocurrency. An official statement highlighted that law enforcement agents identified a South Florida resident raking in millions via an online alias to make over 100,000 sales of illicit items and hacked online account information on Dark Web marketplaces.
The accused sold hacked online account information for popular services such as HBO, Netflix, Uber etc. He also accessed the Dark Web by using The Onion Router (TOR) Network. This is a special network of computers distributed around the world designed to anonymize a user’s internet traffic. It hides the computers’ internet protocol (IP) addresses. The accused is alleged to have used tumblers (a mixing service that pools together multiple cryptocurrency transactions) and illegal Dark Web money transmitter services to launder one cryptocurrency for another. This technique is called chain hopping.
Law enforcement agents also seized various cryptocurrency wallets linked to the illegal Dark Web activities. The seizure was brought about by a joint investigation – Operation TORnado, from the ongoing efforts by OCDETF – a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The OCDETF program identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launders and transnational criminal organizations.