The US authorities dismantled a criminal group that was selling false documents and discovered 500 bitcoins, numerous precious metal bars and cash.
The forgers were discovered in Toledo, Ohio. During the arrest, the authorities found around 500 bitcoins worth approximately 5.5 million dollars according to the current price of bitcoin. The prosecutor hopes the bitcoins could be confiscated and auctioned in the case the arrested group is found guilty and sentenced.
Among other things, the agents found silver and gold bars worth around 265 thousand dollars and around nine million dollars in cash. These funds were gathered during the operation that began in 2013 and was concluded this February.
During the last five years, four people were involved in the operation of selling forged documents, such as driving licenses and identity documents supposedly issued by the states of Ohio, Utah and Michigan. Some of the forgers already have criminal past and they were arrested for impersonation.
After they are prosecuted, the judge will determine the sentence in relation to the crimes they are found guilty of, which means the funds will be frozen until that moment.
The United States already has experience with auctioning cryptocurrencies confiscated from criminals. In December, a federal court from Utah approved the auction of bitcoins and bitcoin cash coins confiscated in an operation on the Darknet. The federal judge ordered the auction of two vehicles, 513.14 bitcoins and 512.93 bitcoin cash coins confiscated from a man guilty of drug trafficking and money laundering.
Likewise, other countries also organize auctions of confiscated cryptocurrencies. The Finnish authorities introduced a new regulation where the digital tokens are treated as assets and not as currencies used for exchange and/or investment. After a judicial failure of one court in Finland, the confiscated cryptocurrencies will be sold for euros in auctions open to the public.
Unlike the US and Finland, South Korea might not confiscated the cryptocurrencies of criminals. One court from South Korea ruled that it was not possible to confiscate the cryptocurrencies from a defendant in the middle of the criminal investigation in a case that involved the closure of an illegal pornographic website. The police froze 216 bitcoins belonging to the owner of the illegal website.