By Wolfie Zhao
The U.S. government is eyeing the potential confiscation of 500 bitcoin seized from four individuals charged with creating fake identification documents.
According to an announcement from the Department of Justice in Ohio, the four individuals – three from Toledo and one from Perrysburg – allegedly produced and transferred fake documents such as drivers’ licenses and personal identification cards purportedly from the states of Ohio, Michigan and Utah.
The indictment indicates the four netted proceeds of 500 bitcoin over a period of nearly five years from June 2013 to February 2018. The cryptocurrency total is currently worth nearly $5.5 million according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index.
If the accused are ordered to forfeit the bitcoin, as requested by the prosecutors in the case, the U.S. government will be able to add them to its existing pool of bitcoin seized from criminals in recent years. The funds are likely to eventually be auctioned to the public, adding potential liquidity to the market.
As reported previously, the U.S. Marshals Service held an auction of more than 3,800 bitcoins in January – the first since the sale of 2,700 bitcoin in 2016.
In 2014, the US Marshals Service also auctioned off 50,000 bitcoins forfeited by Ross Ulbricht, the operator of the now-defunct dark web Silk Road, upon his conviction.
Bitcoins image via CoinDesk archive