The DeepDotWeb (DDW) Administrator goes to prison in connection with a money-laundering scam.
DeepDotWeb, a news and reviews site focusing on the dark web, crypto, and privacy, was seized in May 2019. The site was captured after an investigation into the former’s affiliate marketing models and business associations with several darknet markets.
In May 2019, owners Michael Phan and Tal Prihar were indicted by a US court. They were accused of money laundering. As per an official release from the US Department of Justice, the site received approximately $8.4 million in kickbacks through purchases of firearms, hacking tools, fentanyl, and several other contrabands on the darknet marketplaces during its operation. The amount was received as bitcoin. Later, the same amount was to be worth about $15.5 million.
Prihar hails from Israel. The 37 years-old-accused pleaded guilty to the money laundering conspiracy. Prihar will have to spend 8 years in prison.
The US prosecutors said the ill-famed site provided customers with straight links to darknet marketplaces that operate illegally. These marketplaces were otherwise inaccessible through ordinary or traditional search engines. So, the site functioned as a critical connecting point between the merchants and potential buyers. The merchants mentioned here were involved in the sale of illegal forearms, hacking tools, malware, heroin, etc. These promotional works kickback money from the promoted market segments.
“To conceal the nature and source of these illegal kickback payments, Prihar transferred the payments from his DDW bitcoin wallet to other bitcoin accounts and to bank accounts he controlled in the names of shell companies,” explains prosecutors.
Since October 2013, Prihar Owned and managed the DDW site, along with Phan 34, who is now the co-defendant in the present case.