The US government is planning to sell more than $1.17 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) that was seized as part of the Silk Road illicit marketplace case.
According to a new federal court filing, the government is planning to sell the remainder of the approximate 51,351 Bitcoin seized from hacker James Zhong, who authorities accused of stealing the virtual assets from Silk Road in 2012.
Per the filing, the government has already sold about 9,861 BTC of the total amount seized for more than $215 million on March 14th, leaving about 41,491 BTC.
At Bitcoin’s current value of $28,332, the sale of the remaining BTC would have a value of $1.175 billion.
The filing was with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and pertains to the sentencing of Zhong. The government says it will not sell the remainder of the BTC until after Zhong is sentenced, which is scheduled for April 14.
“With respect to the 51,351.89785803 Bitcoin forfeited in the Ulbricht case before Judge Schofield, the Government has begun liquidating (selling) it. On March 14, 2023, the Government sold 9,861.1707894 BTC (of the 51,351.89785803 BTC) for a total of $215,738,154.98. After $215,738.15 in transaction fees, the net proceeds to the Government were $215,522,416.83.
Of the Bitcoin forfeited in the Ulbricht case, there remains approximately 41,490.72 BTC, which the Government understands is expected to be liquidated in four more batches over the course of this calendar year. The Government understands from IRS Criminal Investigation – Asset Recovery & Investigative Services that the second round of liquidation will not be sold prior to Zhong’s sentencing date.”
Silk Road was a former darknet black market in operation from approximately 2011-2013. The site was often associated with illegal activities such as money laundering and drug running.
Zhong was accused of tricking the site’s payment processing system using fake accounts and rapid deposits and then withdrawals of larger amounts to steal the Bitcoin.
Federal authorities eventually tracked down the stolen Bitcoin at Zhong’s Georgia home, seizing the Bitcoin in November 2021, when it was worth $3.6 billion. Zhong pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud in connection with the theft.
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