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Owners of Infamous ‘Empire Market’ Dark Web Marketplace Charged for $430 Million in Illegal Transactions


June 18, 2024

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Owners of Infamous ‘Empire Market’ Dark Web Marketplace Charged for $430 Million in Illegal Transactions

Authorities have charged two men in a federal court in Chicago for running the infamous “Empire Market” dark web marketplace, enabling illegal transactions totaling over $430 million from February 2018 to August 2020.

The underground marketplace dealt in illicit goods and services, including counterfeit cash, stolen credit cards, jewelry, chemicals, drugs and malware.

Empire Market Went Dark in 2020

In 2020, Empire Market ceased operations during ongoing extortion-based distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, leaving its users unable to withdraw funds from their account escrows. This led many of the marketplace’s customers to believe the owners pulled an exit scam.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) disclosed in an indictment last week that Thomas Parvey, known as “Dopenugget,” and Raheim Hamilton, who used the aliases “Zero Angel” and “Sydney,” had engaged in selling counterfeit U.S. currency on AlphaBay before establishing Empire Market.

More Than $430 Million in Over 4 Million Transactions

During its runtime, the illicit marketplace helped perform more than 4 million transactions, adding up to a staggering $430 million. Users of the dark web platform engaged in buying and selling credit cards, stolen items, methamphetamine, LSD, heroin, cocaine, and other illicit goods.

As expected, sellers only accepted anonymity-based payment methods, including Litecoin, Monero and Bitcoin. The platform also added tumbling services to the mix to make payments harder to trace and evade law enforcement.

Possibly Lifetime Sentence for Empire Market Owners

The accused generated revenue by keeping a share of each cryptocurrency transaction on Empire Market. They also used the same funds to pay a team of moderators for the market.

The two face several conspiracy charges, including conspiracy to sell counterfeit U.S. currency, distribute controlled substances, possess unauthorized access devices, sell counterfeit currency on Empire Market, and commit money laundering. If found guilty and convicted on all counts, the accused could risk a lifetime sentence.




Vlad's love for technology and writing created rich soil for his interest in cybersecurity to sprout into a full-on passion. Before becoming a Security Analyst, he covered tech and security topics.

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