Child and rape porn site owner charged after investigators trace BTC payments

The operator of a rape and child pornography Darknet website is facing charges for eight years of selling illicit material for BTC. Michael R.M., also known as Mr. Dark, has been charged in the District of Columbia for selling over 2,000 obscene videos.

Using blockchains to trace payments, a joint investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Homeland Security, Dutch National Police, Europol and German Federal Criminal Police traced payments of BTC and other digital assets to Mr. Dark. He operated 303 virtual currency accounts, which customers would send payments to in exchange for packets of illicit pornography.

And Mr. Dark is accused of offering nothing but the most illegal of pornography. The charges note Dark Scandals, the site he operated, offered “real blackmail, rape and forced videos of girls all around the world.” Any user could upload material, but the site mandated only real scenarios were allowed, with nothing “fake, amateur…or acted movies.” It also stated a preference for user made videos, rather than found footage.

The site was found to be in operation since 2012, and had accumulated as many as 2000 videos of real rape and child pornography in that time. “The obscene material distributed by the defendant victimizes innocent and vulnerable people in our communities,” said Alysa Erichs, acting executive associate director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Mr. Dark faces nine counts for his operation, as well as a parallel civil forfeiture action. The involved government authorities want to seize the digital assets used to purchase these illegal materials, as well as website domains associated with Dark Scandals.

Don Fort, IRS Criminal Investigation Chief, was horrified by what the investigation found, and warned that the law is coming for all criminals, no matter what payment method they use:

 “The types of crimes described in this indictment are the most disgusting I’ve encountered in 30 years of law enforcement. It is a special kind of evil to prey on and profit from the pain of others. Criminals should know if you leave a digital footprint, we will find you. If you exploit our children, we will put you behind bars. If you thought you were anonymous, think again. The dark web is not quite as dark today due to the hard work of IRS-CI and our partner agencies.”

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