Prosecutors Oppose Alleged Darknet Operator’s Bid to Recover Seized Crypto Hardware Wallet

News | July 4, 2024 By:

On Thursday, June 20, 2024, the United States government filed a response in opposition to a motion requesting the return of property filed by Alan Bill, who is currently facing criminal charges including drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

Bill had filed a Rule 41(g) motion, which allows individuals to request the return of property that was unlawfully seized. In his motion, Bill sought the return of a Trezor hardware wallet that was seized by authorities in December 2023 when he and his wife arrived in Newark, New Jersey on their honeymoon.

However, in its response, the United States argued that the Trezor wallet should not be returned as it is considered important evidence in the ongoing case against Bill. Prosecutors detailed that Bill is accused of operating an underground darknet marketplace called Kingdom Market, which was allegedly used to sell illegal drugs, stolen personal information, counterfeit currencies, and malware.

Through its investigation, authorities discovered a receipt showing Bill purchased a Trezor wallet in 2020. Additionally, a file was found on one of Bill’s email accounts that contained a seed phrase, which are unique codes that allow users to access and transfer cryptocurrency between digital wallets. When investigators looked up this seed phrase using cryptocurrency software, it was linked to a Trezor wallet that had at one point been named “Cicinka.”

Records show that this Trezor wallet, believed to be the same one seized from Bill, had received numerous payments in cryptocurrency from wallets associated with Kingdom Market that were linked to an alias used by the suspect. The response states the government is working to access private crypto keys stored on the seized Trezor, which could reveal criminal proceeds connected to Bill’s alleged role in running the darknet marketplace.

Even if those keys cannot be retrieved, prosecutors argue the Trezor itself is important evidence that corroborates Bill’s involvement in the case when viewed alongside other information uncovered.

As the device likely contains private keys to wallets holding alleged illicit funds, the government plans to deny Bill’s motion and maintain control of the Trezor hardware wallet as part of its evidence against the accused.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.