The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has filed charges against Dutch national Michael Rahim Mohammad, also known as “Mr. Dark”, for operating Dark Scandals, a group of Bitcoin-funded websites depicting child pornography and rape videos.
Mohammad faces charges on various counts of distribution of child pornography, production and transportation of obscene matters for sale or distribution, engaging in the business of selling or transferring obscene matter, and laundering of monetary instruments.
The indictment [PDF download] contains disturbing descriptions and language about the content of the videos. According to Don Fort, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation,
“The types of crimes described in this indictment are the most disgusting I’ve encountered in 30 years of law enforcement. It is a special kind of evil to prey on and profit from the pain of others.”
Mohmmad was the administrator of the Dark Scandals sites, which he began operating in 2012.
DarkScandals Clearnet, accessible using standard browsers and .com URLs, as well as DarkScandals Darknet, not accessible through regular internet browsing, were funded with the two most popular cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin and Ethereum. Users were required to pay for content in cryptocurrency that offered the illusion of anonymity. However, law enforcement has been able to trace the Bitcoin and Ethereum payments back to 303 user accounts.
According to the forfeiture complaint [PDF download], Mohammad received almost $2 million from the enterprise. The complaint seeks to return the funds to the victims.
Both sites were virtually identical, offering paying customers access to over 2,000 videos depicting child pornography, rape and sexual violence. They advertised “real blackmail, rape and forced videos of girls all around the world.”
The sites also allowed users to upload videos, with rules requesting “real rape/forced” content, and “own made material.” The sites did not allow “fake, amateur…or acted movies” and would reject content without sexual violence.
The investigation was jointly investigated by the IRS-CI (Washington, D.C.) and Homeland Security Investigations (Colorado Springs and The Hague). The Dutch National Police of the Netherlands, Europol, and the German Federal Criminal Police provided assistance.
“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.”
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Featured Image: Shutterstock/Boligolov Andrew