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Rui-Siang Ling AKA Pharoah Arrested Over After $100 Million Exit Scam and Blackmail Allegations

Published May 22, 2024 9:11 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Published May 22, 2024 9:11 AM
Key Takeaways
  • US authorities arrested Rui-Siang Lin, the alleged operator of the darknet marketplace Incognito, at JFK Airport.
  • Lin, AKA Pharoah, is accused of using Incognito to facilitate over $100 million in illegal drug sales.
  • If convicted, Lin faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison for operating a continuing criminal enterprise.

Rui-Siang Lin, operator of darknet marketplace Incognito, was arrested  by US Department of Justice (DOJ) officers.

The DOJ accuses Lin , who goes by the aliases Pharoah and Faro, of creating Incognito. It also says Lin used the platform to help sell more than $100 million worth of illegal drugs.

Incognito “Market Operator” Arrested for $100 Million Darknet Narcotics Scheme

The DOJ arrested the alleged operator of the Incognito Market, a darknet marketplace previously accessible via the dark web, at JFK airport in New York City. Initially, they suspected Incognito’s administrators had executed an exit scam , taking user funds and shutting down the site.

Incognito Market Exit Scam confirmed – DO NOT DEPOSIT 
byu/hugbunt3r  inonions 

Additionally, in March, there were reports  that Incognito’s administrator was blackmailing users who had inadvertently exposed their data to the market operators.

According to the official report :

“As alleged in the complaint and the indictment, Incognito Market was an online narcotics bazaar that existed on the dark web. Incognito Market formed in October 2020. Since that time, and through its closing in March, Incognito Market sold more than $100 million of narcotics — including hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamines.”

FDA, NYPD, and DOJ Jointly Crack Down on Dark Web Drug Extortion

Special Agent in Charge Charles Grinstead of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) Kansas City Field Office emphasized the agency’s dedication to disrupting and dismantling illegal drug sales on the dark web. Incognito Market drugs

Credit: Incognito Market

Meanwhile, Commissioner Edward A. Caban of the New York Police Department (NYPD) also highlighted the persistent efforts of law enforcement to root out and dismantle illegal drug networks that operate from hidden corners of the marketplace. He praised the commitment of NYPD investigators and their state and federal partners in ensuring public safety.

The DOJ has also talked about  alleged extortion attempts by Incognito Market in their recent announcement. According to Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York, the administrator’s actions in the platform’s final days demonstrated a “greed and disregard for others”.

Pharoah May Be Facing Life Imprisonment

Rui-Siang Lin, who operated under the online alias “Pharoah,” is said to have managed Incognito’s distinctive financial system. This allowed users to deposit cryptocurrency into personal deposit vaults referred to as “bank accounts” on the site. The DOJ claims  that when a drug deal was complete, funds were transferred from the buyer’s to the seller’s “bank account,” with Incognito collecting a commission fee of 5%.

If convicted, Lin faces a life sentence for operating a continuing criminal enterprise and for narcotics conspiracy. Additionally, Lin could receive up to 20 years in prison for money laundering. He could also face five years for conspiracy to sell adulterated and misbranded medication.

Incognito Market was crafted to help easy and global narcotics transactions, mimicking many features of legitimate e-commerce platforms, including branding, advertising, and customer service. Upon entry, users encountered a welcoming splash page and a sophisticated graphic interface.

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