The seller was selling coronaprevention.org for $500 and asked the payment to be in bitcoin.
“I know from my training and experience that such the domains can typically be purchased for approximately $20. Thus, Subject A was charging an exponential markup to sell the Target Property,” according to the undercover special agent.
Additionally, the undercover special agent alleged that the seller stated that his idea to sell “fake testing kits” using the coronaprevention.org domain was “genius.”
The seller allegedly added that he “wanted to do that but I couldn’t get enough cash to bulk buy them from Alibaba.” He allegedly gave the undercover special agent instructions on how to set up a new website on the domain using a service overseas to prevent U.S. authorities from shutting it down in the future.
The undercover special agent said their investigation showed that there is a probable cause to believe that the owner of the domain name engaged in money laundering or caused the laundering of monetary instruments. Therefore, the domain name is subject to criminal and civil seizure and forfeiture.
U.S. authorities will aggressively pursue scammers amid the COVID-19 pandemic
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea said, “We will not tolerate the exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain. This Office will not allow fraudsters to use anonymous online spaces and cryptocurrency to hide their harmful activities and prey on victims.”