Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman Representing Men Charged With Sheep Marketplace Bitcoin Theft

Jeffrey Lichtman has been hired by two men who are alleged to have stolen 5,400 Bitcoins – worth approximately $6.6 million – from the online drug sales website Sheep Marketplace in 2013.  Last week, the United States Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville released civil forfeiture documents detailing the 2014 return of $4.5 million in cash and other assets; no criminal charges have yet been brought against the two men.  

From Silk Road to Sheep Marketplace

Sheep Marketplace was launched following the 2013 government shutdown of Darknet Market Silk Road – the first online narcotics marketplace to use Bitcoin – and which ultimately led to the conviction and life sentence for drug dealing and money laundering of Ross Ulbricht and other individuals, including two FBI agents.  Sheep Marketplace was also a black market which served as a drug marketplace in which Bitcoin was exchanged. Despite Sheep Marketplace being a forum for drug dealers, neither of Lichtman’s clients were drug dealers: they were simply curious – and knowledgeable – 21 year old men who found a vulnerability in the website and coins were removed.  This resulted in the insolvency of the website and its closure.  The pair never hacked the website, never injected any code and the two men immediately accepted responsibility for their actions upon discovery and forfeited all remaining assets from the theft.  This position was confirmed by the operators of Sheep Marketplace back when it closed it when they claimed that the theft was due a “bug” in their “system.”

Both men had no criminal record and have had no run-ins with the law since the seizure of the Bitcoin and assets over two years ago.  At this time, there are no criminal charges pending against either man.  While the young men got in over their heads while exploiting the weaknesses in the Sheep Marketplace website, they recognize that their conduct was wrong, regardless of the fact that the individuals who were victimized were most likely drug dealers.

Bitcoin-Related Crimes Have Some Similarities to Many Other Federal and State Charges

While Bitcoin is a relatively new currency – a digital asset – crimes relating to it are not necessarily different than those relating to any other asset, including charges of fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking and, in the case of the Silk Road prosecution, even computer hacking, Continuing Criminal Enterprise and murder for hire.  Understanding the complexities of Bitcoin trading is important just as is experience in handling complex criminal cases.  At the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman we have handled – and won – numerous complex criminal fraud cases, computer code theft cases along with dozens of other high profile state and federal criminal cases.  In addition, even after conviction, many potentially lengthy prison sentences can be reduced at sentencing to probation or close to it due to a myriad of issues as presented to the judge by a top New York criminal defense attorney.

Call a Top New York Criminal Defense Attorney Today To Discuss Your Case

If you have been arrested on a Bitcoin-related crime or any other complex federal or criminal, white collar charge, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman today to discuss your case free of charge.  Our track record of success is unmatched in the federal and state systems and across the country.