Department of Justice Seizes a Record $19.2 Million is Bitcoin

Photo: U.S. Department of Justice

Cleveland, OH - Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced today that the bitcoin seized and ordered to be forfeited in connection with the federal investigation of Mark Alex Simon and his scheme to produce fraudulent identification documents sold for $19,227,204.64, a dramatic increase in value since its seizure in May of 2019. 

Simon, 37, of Toledo, Ohio, was previously sentenced to 24 months in prison by District Court Judge Jeffrey J. Helmick for Transferring False Identification Documents or Authentication Features and Conspiracy to Launder Money following an earlier guilty plea.

According to court documents, Simon produced and sold false identification documents; to include false identification documents which appeared to be driver’s licenses and personal identification cards issued by the states of Ohio, Michigan, and Utah. Individuals seeking to purchase these false identification documents that the defendant produced would order the documents from Simon’s website. The purchaser sent a digital photo and biographical information for the false identification documents. The purchasers would pay for the false identification documents and shipping in bitcoin. The defendant produced the false identification documents, which were then mailed to the purchasers using the U.S. mail bearing prepaid express mail stamps, with false return addresses in the Toledo area. 

Bitcoin seized during the investigation, initially valued at approximately $2,877,351.39, increased in value dramatically when forfeited and later sold by the United States. Simon agreed to the forfeiture in connection with the guilty plea. The net return from the sale of the bitcoin was $19,227,204.64, which is the largest net forfeiture in Northern District of Ohio’s history.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Ohio Investigative Unit.

(Copyright, iHeartMedia, 2021)

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