US Judge Approves Government Sale of Confiscated Bitcoin Worth $8.7 Million
US District Judge Dale Kimball of Utah has authorized on the sale of confiscated cryptocurrencies following the request by prosecutors in the case on December 12.
The cryptocurrencies were seized by the authorities when they arrested Aaron Shamo and his alleged partner Drew W. Crandal in November 2016 due to allegations of operating a multimillion-dollar opioid drug ring around the Salt Lake City suburb.
Based on the court order, the judge has approved the sale because of the risk of the cryptocurrencies losing value during the pendency of the forfeiture proceedings. The order also stated that the proceeds of the sale will be deposited into the Treasury Forfeiture Fund Suspense account.
Part of the aforementioned order reads:
“The BTC and BCH have been transferred to a government wallet. Due to the volatile market for cryptocurrencies, the BTC and BCH risk losing value during the pendency of the forfeiture proceedings … For these reasons, the United States seeks an interlocutory sale.”
Due to the court’s approval, the US Attorney’s Office in Utah is already preparing to sell the confiscated Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash tokens, which were worth less than $500,000 during the seizure.
As of press time, the seized 513.1490393 Bitcoin are now worth around $8.7 million. Meanwhile, confiscated Bitcoin Cash tokens are now valued at nearly $949,000.
As per court order, the digital currencies will be sold and converted into US dollars through one or more commercial virtual currency exchanges in the country in increments of 50 coins or less. This is to prevent possible loss or fraud.
The impending sale is not the first in the history of virtual currencies. In 2015, the US government conducted several auctions of Bitcoin confiscated from the now-defunct dark market Silk Road.
In June 2017, the government of South Korea also auctioned 216 Bitcoin that were seized during a 2016 criminal probe.