Case studies

Illicit Online Marketplace

An FRA Director led an investigation into a nefarious online marketplace, applying complex data analysis resulting in the arrest of numerous cybercriminals selling illicit goods and services.


An FRA Director, while a Special Agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), led an investigation into a nefarious online marketplace. The marketplace utilized multiple vendors to acquire and sell the illicit goods and services that were sold and had a customer base that spanned the globe.


The FRA Director identified conversations between the marketplace administrator and vendors in unstructured data sets. Analysis of these conversations revealed when and how the administrator was paying the vendors in bitcoin, as well as identifiers for the administrator’s cryptocurrency wallet addresses. The FRA Director then conducted blockchain analysis on the administrator’s wallet addresses and identified outbound payments that aligned with the conversations between the administrator and vendors, revealing the wallet addresses for the vendors.


By combining the unstructured data sets, open-source intelligence, and blockchain analysis, the FRA Director followed the flow of funds from cryptocurrency to fiat currency to the true identifiers of the vendors. This led to the arrest of numerous cyber criminals selling illicit goods and services online.

Related contacts
Meredith Fitzpatrick
Director of Cryptocurrency Investigations and Compliance
Washington DC
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