DeepDotWeb was a website that connected Internet users to Darknet markets, where illegal firearms, malware, hacking tools, heroin, fentanyl, and other illicit goods could be purchased.
DeepDotWeb the darknet market
It was a real intermediary that followed the popular affiliate business model.
It facilitated the activities by advertising and sponsoring real direct links with illicit markets of the Dark Web.
An $8.4 million business
It was a business that earned the two co-owners of the website about $8.4 million in Bitcoin.
The owner of DeepDotWeb, Tal Prihar, and business partner Michael Phan, in fact received bribes in BTC for this operation.
Tal Prihar, in order to hide the origins of these large sums of money, laundered it and then transferred the payments to other accounts; not only Bitcoin accounts but also conventional bank accounts linked to front companies.
The 8-year prison sentence
According to court documents, Tal Prihar, 37, an Israeli citizen residing in Brazil, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money in March 2021 and on 26 January 2022, just a few days ago, he was sentenced by the US Department of Justice to 97 months in prison.
The US Department of Justice has published an official memo regarding the matter that describes the case and reads as follows:
“An Israeli national was sentenced yesterday to 97 months in prison for operating DeepDotWeb (DDW), a website that connected internet users with Darknet marketplaces, where they purchased illegal firearms, malware and hacking tools, stolen financial data, heroin, fentanyl and other illicit materials.
According to court documents, Tal Prihar, 37, an Israeli citizen residing in Brazil, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in March 2021. Beginning in October 2013, Prihar owned and operated DDW, along with co-defendant Michael Phan, 34, of Israel. In addition to providing general information about the Darknet, DDW provided users with direct links to illegal Darknet marketplaces, which are not accessible through traditional search engines”.
The fate then of the two business partners has not been the best.
While Tal Prihar is set to spend the next eight years of his life in an American prison, co-defendant Phan remains abroad and is currently being extradited to Israel.
The investigation of the case is the result of an extraordinary collaboration between different law enforcement agencies. In fact, the FBI, the Israeli, Brazilian, German and Dutch police, but also the British National Crime Agency and Europol have conducted the investigation and cooperated.