Canadian drug dealer forced to give up over $1 million in crypto
The crook unsuccessfully argued that the crypto didn’t come from his criminal enterprises
A Canadian man arrested for using the dark web for drug trafficking is being forced to hand over $1.4 million in Bitcoin (BTC). Matthew Phan admits that he ran a few illicit enterprises for which he was paid in cryptocurrency, but asserts that not all of the funds are from those operations. A Canadian judge didn’t buy his argument, though, and Phan is now $1.4 million poorer.
Phan pleaded guilty this past December to his activity and began contesting the forfeiture of the funds. He argued that he had traded in gold and had been active on crypto exchanges, allowing him to build up a nice crypto wallet. However, Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly decided, “There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that Mr. Phan was using the dark markets to purchase illegal items such as firearms and silencers. It is clear from the evidence found during searches, particularly of his condominium unit, that he was conducting a large sales operation of illegal narcotics. It is a reasonable inference to draw that payment for such illegal narcotics sales was made using bitcoin that was found in the digital wallet on Mr. Phan’s computer.”
The forfeiture is reportedly the largest ever in Canada related to cryptocurrencies. The funds will be turned over to Toronto and that province’s government will decide how to put them to use.
It wasn’t all bad news for Phan, though. Kelly decided, somehow, that around $36,000 in BTC (7.23 BTC) didn’t come from Phan’s illegal activity and, therefore, will not be confiscated.