Vernon Hills, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, will sell $10,000 worth of bitcoins that police seized from criminals, according to The Chicago Tribune. The bitcoins were seized during joint police investigations with federal authorities.
Village trustees authorized Nikki Larson, the village finance director, to begin the process of selling the bitcoins. Police did not reveal details of the investigation.
Since the village does not have use for the bitcoins, Larson recommended that the village accept its share of the confiscated bitcoins and convert them into U.S. currency.
The village will create a Coinbase account, which Larson characterized as a police-friendly online depository. The trustees authorized Larson to create a regular bank account to link with the Coinbase account and sell the bitcoins. The proceeds from the sale will go to the police department’s asset forfeiture account.
Larson said bitcoin sells at prices fluctuating daily between $700 and $900 per coin.
Larson also said a second bitcoin sale is likely later this year because the police are conducting another online criminal investigation.
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The police department is currently working on two investigations in which criminal organizations are using bitcoin, according to Kim Christenson, a police spokesperson. The department will release additional information on these investigations after asset forfeiture has been completed.
Christenson did not say how long the investigations have been ongoing or what types of criminal organizations and crimes are involved.
Criminal activities involving bitcoin are mainly focused on “dark-net markets’ and theft, Christenson said, even though government officials recognize that bitcoin provides legitimate financial services.
All funds seized from criminal investigations must be used for police-related expenses and cannot be deposited into the village’s general account.
The trustees approved the bitcoin-to-dollars conversion process. Supporting documents indicated the FBI agreed with the process.
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