Bitcoin worth $1.4 million is likely heading its way to a Canadian police auction after a judge ordered a convicted drug dealer to forfeit over 97% of his holdings. According to the Toronto Star, Matthew Phan, 30, will see 281.41 of his 288.64 BTC holding removed from his wallet and handed over to police, leaving him with just 7.23, after a judge ruled that the vast majority of his income came from selling drugs on the dark web. The judge also confirmed that he had used the Bitcoin to buy a gun and more illegal narcotics, further adding to his rap sheet. Phan tried to argue that most of the Bitcoin had come from trading, but his pleas were dismissed.
Justice Kelly has ordered 281.41 Bitcoins to be forfeited.
There was overwhelming evidence that Matthew Phan was using the dark markets to purchase illegal items such as firearms, silencers, and narcotics.#Bitcoin #cryptocurrency #AML #law #regulationhttps://t.co/8PCGLljtsa
— Chetan Phull (@SmartblockLaw) April 4, 2019
Watching From the Sidelines
Phan was arrested in 2015 last year and charged with possessing cocaine, PCP, and ketamine for the purposes of trafficking, but only pleaded guilty last December. The Bitcoin haul, found in a wallet on his laptop, was worth about $72,000 when he was arrested, so one can only imagine how he felt watching the price rocket to $20,000 in 2017, which would have made him worth over $5.7 million at the time.
Phan is yet to be sentenced, but he will likely have to spend decades behind bars despite pleading guilty, although if some predictions prove to be correct he may end up leaving jail a very wealthy man. The 7.23 Bitcoin he has been left with is currently worth some $36,000 worth at current prices, although this is before the tax it is fairly likely he has not paid. However, with predictions that Bitcoin will be worth anywhere between $100,000 and $1 million in the coming years, Phan could be nicely set up whenever he is released.
Canada’s Biggest Haul
Phan’s arrest still represents the largest Bitcoin seizure in Canadian history despite it happening over four years ago. In 2013, another dark web drug dealer was arrested and 226 Bitcoin confiscated, with the offender, who used the infamous Silk Road to peddle his narcotics, serving nine months in prison. The Bitcoin at the center of his case is currently in the possession of Canadian police, although British Columbia’s Civil Forfeiture department recently laid claim to the cryptocurrency after six years of it lying dormant. This may have something to do with the fact that at the time of the seizure it was worth $31,650 and it’s now worth $1.1 million. That’s a lot of park benches.