DeepDotWeb News Site Operator Sentenced to 8 Years for Money Laundering

An Israeli national was sentenced to 97 months in prison in connection with operating the DeepDotWeb (DDW) Clearnet website, nearly a year after the individual pleaded guilty to the charges.

Tal Prihar, 37, an Israeli citizen residing in Brazil, is said to have played the role of an administrator of DDW since the website became functional in October 2013. He pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in March 2021 and agreed to forfeit the illegally amassed profits.

DDW, until its seizure in May 2019, ostensibly served as a “news” website that connected internet users with underground marketplaces on the dark web that operate via darknets such as Tor, enabling the purchase of illegal firearms, malware and hacking tools, stolen financial data, heroin, fentanyl, and other illicit materials.

Prihar, acting in cohorts with co-defendant Michael Phan, 34, of Israel, provided direct links to illegal marketplaces and in return for advertising these links, reaped substantial profits by receiving kickbacks from the operators of the marketplaces in the form of virtual currency amounting to 8,155 bitcoins (worth $8.4 million at the time of the transactions).

“To conceal the nature and source of these illegal kickback payments, Prihar transferred the payments from his DDW bitcoin wallet to other bitcoin accounts and to bank accounts he controlled in the names of shell companies,” the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a release last week.

Separately, the DoJ also publicized the sentencing of an associate of the Dark Overlord hacking group for his role in possessing and selling more than 1,700 stolen identities, including social security numbers, on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay.

Slava Dmitriev, a 29-year-old Canadian citizen who was apprehended in Greece in September 2020 and extradited to the U.S. in January 2021, was awarded a jail term of three years after he pleaded guilty in August 2021 to fraud charges. Read more:

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