US: $28 MILLION BITCOINS FORFEITURE IS A RECORD: NEW YORK (AP) — A record $28 million of bitcoins was formally transferred to the U.S. government several months after it was seized from the server of the black market website Silk Road after the government claimed the digital currency was used to facilitate money laundering, prosecutors announced Thursday.
The action came a day after a Manhattan judge approved the forfeiture of the bitcoins and the website, and three months after San Francisco entrepreneur Ross Ulbricht was arrested on charges he operated an online marketplace for illegal drugs, following a crackdown on the website. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.
In a news release, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said it was the largest forfeiture of bitcoins ever by the government. He called Silk Road "a global cyber business designed to broker criminal transactions." The website is believed to have collected more than $1 billion in revenue from more than 100,000 customers.
The prosecutor said investigators also seized more than $130 million worth of bitcoins from computer hardware belonging to Ulbricht, though U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken has not yet ruled whether those bitcoins must be forfeited. Ulbricht, 29, has challenged the government's claims to that currency and its insistence that he operated online as Dread Pirate Roberts.
NEWTOWN GUNMAN APPARENTLY CALLED RADIO IN 2011: NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — The man who carried out the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre apparently called a radio station a year earlier to discuss the 2009 mauling of a Connecticut woman by a chimpanzee.
The caller believed to be Adam Lanza speaks softly on a show on the University of Oregon's campus radio station and blames "civilization" for the animal's attack.
It would be the first known public recording of Lanza's voice. The 20-year-old man killed 20 children and six adults at the school in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012. He also shot his mother to death inside their home before driving to the school and took his own life as police arrived.
A person with the username "Smiggles" describes making the call afterward in a Web posting. State police documents refer to instant messages from "Smiggles" as presumably being from the Sandy Hook gunman.