A court in the Czech Republic sentenced Tomáš Jiříkovský, the creator of the Sheep darknet marketplace, to serve nine years in prison for stealing bitcoins from the market’s users. According to the court, Jiříkovský stole bitcoin worth roughly 16 million crowns—the equivalent of $731,600 US dollars. The sentence also applies to his role as the owner of Sheep Marketplace and for illegal weapons found in his possession during his arrest.
According to court spokeswoman Eva Sigmund, the judgement is not yet final and Jiříkovský still has time to appeal the sentence. During an interview after the market owner exit scammed, Jiříkovský denied any role in Sheep Marketplace administration. At most, he claimed, the market’s staff had hired him for software development.
Two Florida men hacked the marketplace in late 2013. They stole 5,400 bitcoins from the market, prompting the market’s owner to run one of the first major exit scams. “We are sorry to say, but we were robbed on Saturday 11/21/2013 by vendor EBOOK101. This vendor found [a] bug in system and stole 5,400 BTC – your money,” the admin wrote. The two Floridians made off with far more money than Jiříkovský managed to steal. But if the narrative given to the public was accurate, Jiříkovský initiated his exit scam after the hackers had already stolen a large percentage of the market’s holdings.
Former public prosecutor Marek Vagai explained that the two men from Florida had stolen $4,575,115 in bitcoin. Jiříkovsky made off with the remaining bitcoin—a relatively miniscule portion of the funds. Less than one million dollars. $731,600.
The internet identified Jiříkovský and his significant other, Eva Bartošová, in a surprisingly sorry amount of time. Little came of the dox. Initially, at least. Law enforcement later noticed suspicious financial activity coming from accounts belonging to Jiříkovský and Bartošová. Police arrested the duo in March 2015. Jiříkovský had illegal weapons in his possession that contributed to the nine year sentence. The court dropped Bartošová’s case, according to local media sources.
A so-called “cyber security expert” named Vlastimil Klima exams the data taken from the 25-year-old suspect’s phone and computer. He reported that the devices point towards Jiříkovský as the marketplace owner and the bitcoin scammer behind the exit scam. Kilma said that on the phone, he discovered a file that contained marketplace settings. He also found a database that contained information on transactions and other sensitive information.
The number of stolen bitcoins was lower than the initially reported number. However, between the thefts and exchanges, the couple’s $700k may have been the entirety of the remaining stolen bitcoin. Market owners frequently collect a commission on marketplace sales and Jiříkovský made money via the commission avenue—in addition to the scam that he still adamantly denies having any role in.
As appeals will likely be filed, the sentence may later change, but after several years of waiting, some vendors (and buyers) finally saw their wishes come to life.