US Marshals Open Auction For $1.6 Million In Seized Bitcoins

Dan Chaison Reporter
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The US Marshals Service is auctioning a block of 2,719 bitcoins.

The cache of digital currency was seized from nine different federal court cases, several of which are notable, including US v. Ross William Ulbricht.

Ulbricht was slapped with a life sentence last year for being the ringleader behind the online black marketplace used for drug trafficking, Silk Road. Following Ulbricht’s arrest, the undercover DEA agent in charge of taking down Silk Road, Carl Mark Force IV, was imprisoned for stealing bitcoins taken during the investigation.

“While investigating the Silk Road, former DEA Agent Carl Force crossed the line from enforcing the law to breaking it,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement. “Seduced by the perceived anonymity of virtual currency and the dark web, Force used invented online personas and encrypted messaging to fraudulently obtain bitcoin worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from the government and investigative targets alike.”

Force’s case is also a source of the Marshals’ bitcoin stash. The federal government treats forfeited bitcoins like any other property, making them subject to auctions, no different from cars and houses.

Valued at $591 each, the block of 2,719 bitcoins is worth $1.6 million dollars. A $100,000 minimum must be paid to join the bidding. Registration began Monday and is deadlined on Thursday, August 18.

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