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DeepDotWeb admin sentenced to 97 months in prison for money laundering scheme

The administrator of the DeepDotWeb (DDW) has received a sentence of 97 months in prison for money laundering.

Tal Prihar (37), an Israeli national who operated DeepDotWeb (DDW), was sentenced to 97 months in prison and was ordered to forfeit $8,414,173. DeepDotWeb (DDW) was a website that connected internet users with Darknet marketplaces, where they purchased illegal firearms, malware and hacking tools, stolen financial data, narcotic substances and other illicit materials. DeepDotWeb web site included news on Dark Web and the real-time updated listing of black marketplaces and illegal shops running on the Tor anonymizing network.  For each website, DeepDotWeb offered statistics on the uptime and notes on its history, along with the links to reach the hidden services and associated forums.

In March 2021, pleaded guilty to receiving kickbacks from the operators of the marketplaces for the sale of illegals products. Tal Prihar is a 37-year-old Israeli citizen living in Brazil who operated the DeepDotWeb portal with the co-owner Michael Phan.

In May 2019, the Police seized the DeepDotWeb website and arrested its operators for their business in facilitating the access to darkweb marketplaces and vendors.

The site was seized and the arrests were made as part of an international operation involving the FBI, Europol, and Federal law enforcement agencies from Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, and Brazil.

The DeepDotWeb operators were accused of have made millions of dollars in affiliate commissions generated by referring traffic to darkweb marketplaces and vendors.

Thanks to DeepDotWeb, iIt was very easy to search for black marketplaces selling drugs, malware, stolen credit card data, stolen personal data, and other illegal services.

DeepDotWeb seized

According to the indictment, Prihar received a total of 8,155 bitcoins from his affiliate marketing deals with marketplace operators, then he laundered the profits through various shell companies and bitcoin accounts.

“For providing these links, Prihar and Phan received kickback payments from the marketplaces in the form of virtual currency, including approximately 8,155 bitcoins (worth approximately $8.4 million at the time of the transactions). To conceal the nature and source of these illegal kickback payments, Prihar transferred the payments from his DDW bitcoin wallet to other bitcoin accounts and to bank accounts he controlled in the names of shell companies.” reads the press release published by DoJ. “DDW was seized by federal authorities in April 2019, and Prihar has agreed to forfeit $8,414,173. Phan remains abroad and is currently undergoing extradition proceedings in Israel.”

To find Tor links to dark web sites, one has to use specialized search engines, and none of these engines is powerful or sophisticated enough to index all Tor sites and check their status in real-time.

At this time, DDW co-founder Phan remains abroad and is currently undergoing extradition proceedings in Israel.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Dark Web)

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