In brief

  • Dutch national Michael Rahim Mohammad has been indicted by the US’s Internal Revenue Service for running a website that streams videos of child abuse and sexual assault.
  • Mohammad, the alleged administrator of the website, called Dark Scandals, collected nearly $2 million.
  • Payments to Mohammad were made in Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Authorities this week arrested a Dutch national who allegedly made close to $2 million in crypto from running a website that sold videos of sexual abuse, the Internal Revenue Service said on Thursday. 

Michael Rahim Mohammad, 32, ran DarkScandals, a site that sold over 2,000 videos depicting sexual abuse, including abuse against children, a federal grand jury of the District of Columbia alleges.

Users of DarkScandals could either pay for videos using cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, or contribute new videos to the site. The site stated a preference for home-made material. 

The site, which Mohammad allegedly ran under the moniker Mr. Dark, has since been shut down.

Mohammad now faces nine counts of possession and distribution of child abuse material, sedition, and tax offenses, the IRS said.

Law enforcement managed to arrest Mohammad by tracing payments from 303 accounts on the blockchain. A forfeiture complaint seeks to recover the money and return it to victims. 

“The types of crimes described in this indictment are the most disgusting I’ve encountered in 30 years of law enforcement,” Don Fort, chief of IRS Criminal Investigation, said in a statement. 

He added: "Criminals should know if you leave a digital footprint, we will find you. If you exploit our children, we will put you behind bars. If you thought you were anonymous, think again. The dark web is not quite as dark today due to the hard work of IRS-CI and our partner agencies."

Criminals have used the dark web for illicit activity since its inception, as cryptocurrencies are often the most secretive way to receive profits or launder dirty cash. 

But new tracing technology, like that produced by Chainalysis, shows that the blockchain isn’t as anonymous as once thought. Tracing technology often makes it possible to link addresses to real people.

And due to the magic of the blockchain, the actions of drug runners, terrorist groups, and pedophiles are recorded forever.