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Federal Prosecutors Charge Two Men for Running Darknet Marketplace Empire Market

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Federal Prosecutors Charge Two Men for Running Darknet Marketplace Empire Market

Two individuals have been charged by federal prosecutors in Illinois for owning and running Empire Market, a notorious darknet marketplace.

According to court documents filed on Friday, Thomas Pavey, 38, from Florida, and Raheim Hamilton, 28, from Virginia, allegedly operated Empire Market from 2018 to 2020.

Prosecutors claim that during this period, the marketplace facilitated transactions worth $430 million, enabling users to anonymously purchase illegal goods and services.

Empire Market Only Accepted Crypto


Empire Market, which operated as a platform for the sale of drugs and stolen credit card information, exclusively accepted cryptocurrency as payment.

However, the marketplace ceased its operations in August 2020.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement on Thursday highlighting the illicit activities conducted on Empire Market.

Pavey and Hamilton were already in custody facing separate charges related to selling counterfeit currency on AlphaBay, another darknet market that was shut down in 2017.

The recent charges against them include conspiracy to engage in drug trafficking, computer fraud, access device fraud, counterfeiting, and money laundering.

“The indictment charges Pavey and Hamilton with conspiring with each other and others to engage in drug trafficking, computer fraud, access device fraud, counterfeiting, and money laundering,” the DOJ filing said.

“The charges in the superseding indictment are punishable by a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.”

If convicted, both men could face a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the DOJ.

During the investigation, law enforcement authorities seized $75 million in cryptocurrency, along with undisclosed amounts of cash and precious metals, as mentioned in the press release.

The arraignments for Pavey and Hamilton have yet to be scheduled.

The charges brought against the operators of Empire Market reflect the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat illegal activities on the darknet.

April Records Lowest Crypto Hack Losses


The cryptocurrency industry experienced a major downturn in combined losses from hacks and scams in April.

The month saw the lowest combined losses from crypto-related hacks and scams since 2021, with approximately $25.7 million lost to exploits, hacks, and scams.

More specifically, only $25.7 million was lost in attacks throughout the month, marking the lowest amount since CertiK began tracking such data in 2021.

Flash loan attacks accounted for $129,000 in losses, with the largest incident causing $55,000 in damages.

This marked the lowest incidence of flash loan attacks since February 2022, and $4.3 million was lost to exit scams.

As reported, the first quarter of this year has seen $336 million lost to Web3 hackers and fraud, with nearly half of the capital stolen in January alone.

Nonetheless, the number represents a 23% decrease compared to the first quarter of 2023.

It is also worth noting that $73,885,000 has been recovered from stolen Web3 capital in 7 specific situations.