Scott Quinn Berkett – a 25-year-old resident of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles – reportedly pleaded guilty to transferring $13,000 worth of bitcoin to a hitman on the Dark Web. The latter was supposed to kill Berkett’s ex-girlfriend.
Bitcoin on the Crime Scene
According to coverage by CBS News, the California man and his unidentified partner met online in 2020, and several months later, they started dating. Shortly after, though, the woman tried to end that relationship claiming that Berkett was “sexually aggressive.”
For his part, the man did everything possible to continue the love affair. At one point, the woman’s family was so worried that they contacted Berkett asking him to stay away from her.
The 25-year-old did not abide by that request and even hired a hitman on the Dark Web who was paid $13,000 in bitcoin to murder the woman.
Fortunately, undercover agents were quick to reveal the crime and contacted Berkett introducing themselves as the hitman. The resident of Beverly Hills confirmed certain pictures of the victim and even sent an additional $1,000 to the detectives requesting proof of the murder.
His sentence is scheduled for September 13 and he faces a maximum prison time of 10 years in a federal facility.
Dark Web and Crypto
Critics of the asset class often argue that digital assets could facilitate illegal activities. And indeed, there have been quite a few examples of such transactions in the past years.
Last summer, the Indian police arrested Makarand Pardeep Adivirkar (better known as the “Crypto King”) on suspicion of purchasing narcotics from the Dark Web using bitcoin. According to the prosecutors, the criminal was buying drugs from both Indian and European peddlers:
“In November 2020, a team of NCB Mumbai had seized 20 LSD blots from Kharodi Village in Malad. The seized psychotropic substance was purchased from Europe by using bitcoin.”
During that summer, the demand for COVID-19 vaccines was extremely high as apart from protecting people from the disease, they also gave them a chance to travel. As such, some less-developed countries across the globe struggled to distribute vaccinations to all their residents.
Dark Web outlaws used the opportunity and started selling fake certificates and stolen doses. Ten shots of the AstraZeneca product cost $250 worth of crypto as the most preferred digital assets by the sellers were Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Monero (XMR).
In April this year, the US Department of Justice confiscated approximately $34 million worth of cryptocurrencies tied to illicit Dark Net activity. The organization seized the sum from a Florida resident who sold more than 100,000 illegal items across marketplaces on the platform.