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AlphaBay's PR Man Indicted

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 17, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

How in the world is AlphaBay's public relations man going to spin this?

Ronald L. Wheeler III, the PR man for the online drug dealer, has been indicted on charges of "conspiracy to commit access device fraud."

This man doesn't need a PR person; he needs a lawyer. If only he had one before he got involved with AlphaBay.

Hanged in His Cell

Federal officials took down the dark web dealer in July and confirmed the death of Alexandre Cazes, the alleged mastermind of the business. Cazes, 26, was arrested in Thailand and found hanged in his cell.

The Bangkok Post reported that he had been living in Thailand for about eight years. Police impounded four Lamborghinis and three houses worth almost $12 million.

Prosecutors said Wheeler was AlphaBay's "public relations specialist," mediating sales disputes and promoting the business online. He used the names "Trappy" and "Trappy Pandora."

"This defendant was the mouthpiece for AlphaBay on the internet, encouraging others to access the Dark Web and purchase illegal drugs and contraband," U.S. Attorney Byung J. "BJay" Pak said in a press release.

Fraud, Drugs, Weapons

Before it was shuttered, AlphaBay listed stolen goods, illegal drugs, firearms, hacking tools, and other illicit goods and services. The website listed categories, such "Fraud," "Drugs & Chemicals," "Counterfeit Items," and "Weapons."

According to U.S. Department of Justice, the site had 257,533 listings for drugs, 28,800 for stolen account information 6,008 for stolen credit card information, 3,586 for computer hacking tools, and thousands of other illegal items when it shut down.

In return for his public relations work, the DOJ said, Wheeler received Bitcoin. That's good news for Wheeler because some law firms accept Bitcoin.

Maybe not his, but there is that spin to the story.

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