Although he was ordered to fork over his BTC stash, its price rise since entering prison in 2018 made trying to keep it too irresistible an option for Ryan Farace.
A former darknet market vendor currently serving a 57-month prison sentence was indicted on new money laundering charges late last week. Baltimore area man Ryan Farace, who went by the vendor name ‘Xanaxman’ between 2013 and 2017, is now accused of hiding $137 million in Bitcoin from darknet market proceeds from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Prosecutors allege that between Oct. 2019 and Apr. 2021, Farace, 37, conducted an elaborate scheme from prison to obfuscate the trail of funds collected as a vendor — all with the help of his father, who was also named in the indictment.
The indictment states that Farace employed his father to help him hide a large amount of Bitcoin – 2,933 to be exact – which was already seized by the DEA earlier this year. This equates to slightly over $137 million at today’s price of $47,000 per BTC.
The result of a joint effort between federal and state law enforcement, Farace was apprehended by Maryland authorities in Jan. 2018 and pled guilty to charges related to his time as a vendor in Oct. 2018. The U.S. federal court ruling against Farace the next month sentenced him to 57 months in prison, ordering that he repay a money judgment of $5,665,000, along 4,000 BTC.
As part of a plea agreement, Farace admitted to purchasing Xanax pill molds which he used to press loose alprazolam powder into fake Xanax pills. He is believed to have pressed nearly one million pills during his time as a vendor, selling over 400,000 of them during his first year at the Hansa darknet market. In all, Farace cashed out a total of approximately $5 million worth of BTC over the course of nearly five years.
In July 2020, a motion filed by Farace for his compassionate release was denied.