An unemployed university drop-out, jailed for running a dark web business selling illegal drugs, has been ordered to hand over more than £490,000 in bitcoin.
Thomas White, now 26, took over the running of the notorious dark web site Silk Road after it was first closed in 2013. Although he had no legitimate income, White paid £10,700 up front to rent his plush apartment on Liverpool’s city water front.
After he was jailed for over five years in 2019, officers at the National Crime Agency continued to investigate his finances.
At a recent confiscation hearing at Liverpool Crown Court, HHJ Teague QC ordered White to repay £493,550.00 from his bitcoin holdings. All electronic items used by White in commission of the offences were also forfeited.
White, who left his accounting degree at Liverpool John Moores University after a single term, was an administrator of Silk Road. But within a month of its shutdown by the FBI, he launched Silk Road 2.0.
Like the original site, it used technology to allow users to anonymously buy and sell class A and B drugs, computer hacking tools and other illegal goods, using the digital currency bitcoin.
When officers examined his electronic devices after his arrest, they also discovered a stash of horrific child sex abuse images.
He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, money laundering and making 464 category A indecent images of children, and was jailed for five years and four months.
Tyrone Surgeon, Branch Commander at the National Crime Agency, said:
“Thomas White was a well-regarded member of the original Silk Road hierarchy. He used this to his advantage when the original site was closed down and profited significantly from his criminal activity.
“This case proves that crime doesn’t pay – not only has he spent the last two years in prison, he now has to hand over nearly £500,000.
“This has been a complex, international investigation and highlights that we will use every tool at our disposal to disrupt organised criminals from profiting from their crime.”
02 November 2021