He hid $3.36 billion in stolen bitcoins in a popcorn box.

This is an unusual case revealed this week by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Thus, the police announced the seizure of 3.36 billion dollars in bitcoins from James Zhong, an American living in the state of Georgia. The latter pleaded guilty to electronic fraud committed in September 2012. Now he faces more than 20 years in prison.

Record confiscation of cryptocurrency

In this story, the history of government employees also attracts attention. Indeed, the latter seized 50,676 bitcoins from his home in September 2021. This is the result of a very long investigation, and the whereabouts of the stolen cryptocurrency remained a mystery for a very long time. At the price of that time, this is 3.36 billion against a little over a billion today.

The authorities found the cryptocurrency on a computer hidden under blankets, in an underground safe, and… in a box of popcorn cleverly hidden in the closet.

The defendant got his money back on the illegal Silk Road darknet market created by the famous Ross Ulbricht. Everything was there, and especially the sale of drugs for bitcoins. It was within this framework that James Zhong acted.

According to the Department of Justice, this is the largest cryptocurrency takeover in US history and the second largest financial takeover to date. The Department of Justice warns: “This case shows that we will not stop watching the money, no matter how cleverly hidden, right down to the payment at the bottom of the popcorn box.”

Cryptocurrency Theft Explosion Causes Concern

This case takes place in a very specific context for the cryptocurrency sector. We are indeed seeing an explosion of marketplace thefts this year. One of the most revealing cases this year is probably the hacking of the Ronin network that runs the game Axie Infinity. At least $615 million was stolen in this major hack.

The network manager elaborated last March: “We are working with the authorities, cryptographers and our investors to ensure that all funds are returned or refunded. He immediately added that “most of the hacked funds are still in the hacker’s wallet.” If you are interested in this topic, you can read our article, which takes a closer look at this very disturbing phenomenon.

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