Updated: Apr 29, 2020
A February 21, 2018 investigation by Fortune magazine, revealed cryptocurrency seizures are beginning to become routine given its expanding presence in criminal cases. However, I disagree. In my experience as an Instructor, many law enforcement agencies are ill-prepared to correctly identify and seize cryptocurrency used by criminals in the execution of their criminal acts.
For example, most law enforcement officials simply do not know what to look for, especially when it comes to discovering BIP39 the Mnemonic Seed to cryptocurrency accounts. A lot of money is left on the table when it comes to seizing cryptocurrency evidence assets.
Fortune’s research suggests at least $1 Billion in cryptocurrency has been seized by law enforcement officials as of the magazine’s report. For example, the DOJ (U.S. Department of Justice) seized Bitcoin worth millions of dollars in a global sting operation involving Alexandre Cazes, a top drug dealer who authorities allege operated what was considered the biggest Dark web market for drugs and weapons.
Cazes was incarcerated in a Thailand jail where he hung himself. The DOJ intends to sell the cryptocurrency. Given its rise in value, the agency may realize a windfall of more than fivefold.