DeepDotWeb administrator sentenced for money laundering scheme

PITTSBURGH — A man was sentenced to 97 months in prison Tuesday for operating DeepDotWeb.

DeepDotWeb connected internet users with Darknet marketplaces, where they purchased illegal firearms, malware and hacking tools, stolen financial data, heroin, fentanyl and other illicit materials.

According to court documents, 37-year-old Tal Prihar, an Israeli citizen residing in Brazil, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in March 2021.

Beginning in October 2013, Prihar owned and operated DeepDotWeb along with his co-defendant, 34-year-old Michael Phan, also of Israel. DeepDotWeb also directed users to illegal Darknet marketplaces, which are not accessible through traditional search engines.

Prihar and Phan both received kickback payments from the marketplaces in the form of virtual currency for providing the links. These payments included approximately 8,155 bitcoins, which was worth $8.4 million at the time. Prihar transferred the payments to other bank accounts that he controlled to conceal the nature of the illegal payments.

Phan remains overseas, and is currently undergoing extradition proceedings in Israel.

The FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office investigated this case.