Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that James Zhong was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for committing fraud in September 2012 when he illegally obtained approximately 50.000 Bitcoins from the Silk Road drug market.
As part of the Zhong investigation, the government obtained a final seizure order for 51.680,32473733 Bitcoins, worth more than $3,4 billion at the time of the seizure and more than $1,57 billion today.
US Attorney Damian Williams said:
“In 2012, James Zhong committed a fraud of stealing 50.000 Bitcoins from Silk Road and for the next 10 years managed to hide what he had done and how he obtained his wealth. Zhong used a decentralized Bitcoin mixer, an overseas cryptocurrency exchange, and an impressive array of technological tools to avoid detection. But thanks to the relentless and skillful efforts of law enforcement to follow the money, the federal government uncovered Zhong's scheme and obtained a final seizure order for more than 51.680 Bitcoins. Cybercriminals should take this message to heart: we'll follow the money and you'll be held accountable, no matter how complicated your scheme is or how long it takes."
After Zhong's arrest, the same prosecutor had reported:
“James Zhong committed online fraud a decade ago when he stole approximately 50.000 Bitcoins from Silk Road. For nearly ten years, the whereabouts of these missing Bitcoins was a mystery worth more than $3,3 billion.”
“With state-of-the-art cryptocurrency tracking and good old fashioned police work, law enforcement has located and recovered this impressive stash of criminal proceeds. This case shows that we will not stop following the money, no matter how well it is hidden on a board at the bottom of a popcorn box.”