DeepDotWeb operator sentenced to eight years for money laundering

Tech

In the culmination of a two-year lawsuit, the former operator of the dark web index site DeepDotWeb was sentenced Tuesday to 97 months in prison for money laundering.

The verdict was handed down against Tal Prihar, an Israeli citizen, by a judge of the Pennsylvania Western District Court. The court’s verdict ordered Prihar to forfeit $8.4 million in cash along with an ASUS laptop, a black iPhone and his accounts with cryptocurrency exchanges Binance, Kraken and OKCoin.

The DeepDotWeb site was commissioned in 2013 and is operated by Prihar and another Israeli citizen, Michael Phan, who is a co-defendant in the case. The site was hosted on the open internet but provided links to the .onion domains of dark web marketplaces and posted news updates from dark web services.

The DeepDotWeb domain was seized by the FBI in May 2019 as part of a coordinated operation with police in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil and Israel that resulted in multiple arrests of marketplace operators.

After his arrest in Brazil, Prihar pleaded guilty to money laundering and admitted to receiving a bribe in the form of cryptocurrency from dark web services found on his site. These payments were reportedly converted into fiat currency and sent to bank accounts he managed on behalf of shell companies set up to launder the money.

Prihar’s co-defendant Michael Phan remains in Israel and is currently undergoing extradition proceedings, the Justice Department said.

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