The U.S. Cracked a $3.4 Billion Crypto Heist and Bitcoin’s Anonymity

Law enforcement is using advanced methods to track crypto transactions to stop crime and seize assets. 

Mr. Zhong found a software bug on Silk Road, a dark web marketplace for illegal purchases. He was using it to buy cocaine in Dec. 2012.

Mr. Zhong said he inadvertently double-clicked a withdrawal button, allowing him to take double the bitcoin he had deposited. 

Records from federal prosecutors show that after this first fraudulent withdrawal, he managed to steal a total of 50,000 Bitcoins. 

For eight years, Mr. Zhong concealed his stolen bitcoins by transferring them between different accounts.  

Despite his immense wealth, Mr. Zhong maintained a humble lifestyle in a modest house in Athens, GA, and dressed casually in shorts and t-shirts. 

He also owned a lake-house retreat in Gainesville, GA, a Lamborghini sports car, and a $150,000 Tesla. 

In November 2021, federal agents conducted a surprise search at the residence of Mr. Zhong using a warrant.  

During the search, federal agents found a safe containing the digital keys to his crypto fortune and popcorn with the same keys in the bathroom. 

Mr. Zhong pleaded guilty to wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday in a New York federal court.