HomeCrimeDoJ Charges Two Individuals for Operating Empire Market

DoJ Charges Two Individuals for Operating Empire Market


The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged two men for operating the darknet marketplace Empire Market between 2018 and 2020. The indictment names Thomas Pavey, 38, and Raheim Hamilton, 28, as two men behind the marketplace.

Empire Market connected vendors and customers, facilitating the exchange of illegal products and services worth $430 million. Payments on the marketplace occurred through cryptocurrencies.

A press release issued by the DoJ read, “THOMAS PAVEY, also known as “Dopenugget,” 38, of Ormond Beach, Fla., and RAHEIM HAMILTON, also known as “Sydney” and “Zero Angel,” 28, of Suffolk, Va., owned and operated Empire Market from 2018 to 2020, during which time they facilitated approximately four million transactions between vendors and buyers valued at more than $430 million, according to a superseding indictment returned Thursday in US District Court in Chicago.”

The charges against the duo include “drug trafficking, computer fraud, access device fraud, counterfeiting, and money laundering.” Empire Market aggregated various illicit products and services, including drugs, stolen credit cards, malware, and counterfeit currencies. It used anonymizing software to hide user and vendor IPs and crypto to mask their fund trails.

If found guilty of their roles in operating Empire Market, Pavey and Hamilton can be punished with life sentences served in federal prison. The charges also include their alleged involvement in operating AlphaBay, another darknet marketplace that sold counterfeit currencies and shut down in 2017. Once that was taken down, the pair started operating Empire Market in February 2018, which saw its demise in August 2018.

Authorities have seized $75 million worth of crypto from the duo and more value in the form of precious metals and cash – the amounts remain unspecified. Pavey and Hamilton can defend their innocence in a federal court in Chicago. The hearings will be scheduled soon.

Image by Mark Thomas from Pixabay


Upcoming Events

Most Popular