A computer popup box screen warning of a system being hacked, compromised software enviroment. 3D illustration.Hundreds of people could be under investigation for allegedly viewing videos of violent rape or child pornography on DarkScandals, a pair of websites on the darknet (“DarkScandals Darknet”) and the Clearnet (“DarkScandals Clearnet”).
The IRS’s criminal investigation division, after a joint investigation with Homeland Security Investigations and several European police agencies, announced an indictment and forfeiture order against a Dutch man named Michael Rahim Mohammad. The IRS alleges that Mohammad is “Mr. Dark,” who is thought to operate the websites.
Mohammad is charged with counts of distributing child pornography, production and transportation of obscene matters for sale or distribution, engaging in the business of selling or transferring obscene matter and money laundering.
The two DarkScandals websites offer the same service: helping users find images and videos depicting real sexual assaults and child sexual abuse. They advertise “real blackmail, rape and forced videos of girls all around the world.” The site stated a preference for “own made material” and forbade “fake, amateur…or acted movies.”
Most consumers paid for these illicit images and videos using cryptocurrency such as bitcoin and ethereum, but others uploaded new videos to the site. Mohammad is alleged to have earned nearly two million dollars from selling the content. These proceeds are being seized along with DarkScandals’ website domains.
While cryptocurrency is used by some people to try to avoid the attention of law enforcement, the IRS and other agencies have some ability to determine the identity of the person involved in cryptocurrency transactions. There were 303 cryptocurrency accounts identified in the indictment, and it is possible that alleged owners of those accounts will be identified.
Indictment comes just months after takedown of ‘Welcome to Video’ site
The indictment against Mohammad come just a few months after the IRS’s criminal investigations division took down what was thought to be the dark web’s largest child pornography site, Welcome to Video. A South Korean man has been indicted for operating the site. In addition, 337 alleged users of the site from 23 states and locations abroad have been arrested and charged.
Take action immediately if you are under investigation
Many people may have been caught up in these stings without actually watching videos of rape or child pornography. Others may have downloaded videos without knowing what was in them. There can be a number of defenses to charges involving obscene content or child porn.
Anyone who believes they may be under investigation in relation to these events should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney with experience handling federal sex charges.
Call 877-242-1397 to talk to a criminal defense attorney in a free, confidential consultation.