US Seeks Forfeiture of $2M Florida Condo Allegedly Bought with Silk Road Crypto Profits

News | March 20, 2024 By:

On Tuesday, March 5, 2024, the US government filed a civil forfeiture complaint against a luxury beachfront condominium located in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. In the complaint, federal prosecutors allege that the property, valued at over $2 million, was purchased with funds derived from criminal activity on the darknet marketplace Silk Road.

The complaint targets the condo unit located at 16275 Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach. According to property records, the unit was purchased last December for $2.15 million by the MG Protection Trust, whose trustee is listed as Catherine Gillum. Federal investigators claim the true buyer of the property was Matthew Gillum, Catherine’s brother, who has a history of drug trafficking and criminal use of cryptocurrency.

The filing describes Matthew Gillum’s involvement in a large-scale marijuana distribution ring that operated for over a year until his arrest in 2013. Gillum is said to have sold hundreds of pounds of marijuana through the postal system, receiving payments in cash and bitcoin. He was also an active vendor on the now-defunct darknet market Silk Road under the username “Sourdieselman,” where transaction records show he received over 12,000 bitcoins from sales between March and July 2013.

After Silk Road was shut down by the FBI, investigators were able to access server data that revealed Gillum withdrawing his bitcoin proceeds to external cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet addresses. Over 8,600 BTC were later transferred to an account at the Mt. Gox exchange under an email address linked to Gillum and his family members. From there, portions of the funds were allegedly laundered through multiple additional crypto transactions over the years.

The complaint argues the bitcoin Gillum obtained from his criminal activities on Silk Road was eventually used last December to purchase the Florida condo unit through a circuitous process of cryptocurrency transfers and wire payments. Should the allegations be substantiated, it would signify a notable instance of purportedly utilizing criminal cryptocurrency profits over the course of the decade to obtain a high-value luxury asset.

The filing is seeking civil forfeiture of the Sunny Isles Beach property based on allegations it constitutes property involved in money laundering and facilitating drug crimes.

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