From Bitcoin Genius to Jailbird: The Double Life of Jimmy Zhong, the Real-Life Gatsby Gone Wrong

  Jimmy Zhong, a Chinese-American genius, never expected that one of his police calls would actually send him to jail.
  What’s equally surprising is that this “social maniac” who seems to spend money like water and has countless friends actually lives a miserable and lonely life.
  Real-life version of The Great Gatsby
  Before that, let’s first understand what kind of person Jimmy Chung, the Chinese-American genius, is?
  According to US media, Jimmy Chung is considered an “OG” in the Bitcoin circle (a veteran, godfather figure, specifically describing a person who is awesome.) In
  2008, Jimmy Chung entered the University of Georgia as a freshman to study computer science and Bachelor’s Degree in Bitcoin Mining. I officially graduated in 2014.
  However, when Bitcoin was invented in 2009, he entered the Bitcoin circle early.
  In the early days of Bitcoin development, Jimmy Chung worked as a coder and wrote the original code for Bitcoin and early blockchain technology.
  Although Jimmy Chung’s contribution to the later development of Bitcoin was minor, as an early developer he also provided many ideas on key themes.
  Overall, Jimmy Chung can be considered a “genius” in terms of computers. However, what people don’t know is that this man, who is unanimously regarded by the locals as a typical rich nerd, is secretly leading a miserable double life.
  In front of others, Jimmy Chung is a spending genius who has countless friends who got rich early by relying on “Bitcoin”. However, behind the scenes, Jimmy Chung is a lonely genius who longs to be loved and needs friends.
  Because he is willing to spend money on “all kinds of friends” and is keen on throwing various parties, Jimmy Chung seems to have countless friends and women.
  However, when something really happened, the superficial harmony finally had ripples.
  In March 2019, Jimmy Zhong panicked and called the police saying that 150 Bitcoins worth hundreds of thousands of dollars had been stolen from his home.
  After calling the police, the police could not find any evidence. Jimmy Chung then hired a private detective to find out the truth.
  During the investigation, detectives discovered that the thief captured on surveillance was likely related to Jimmy Chung’s “so-called friend.”
  Because the thief seemed to be familiar with Jimmy Chung’s home, he obviously knew where the saved Bitcoins were hidden.
  Based on surveillance and follow-up investigations, detectives eventually identified a suspect. When the detective told Jimmy Chung this conclusion, Jimmy Chung didn’t want to hear it at all and insisted that the theft was committed by an outsider.
  Judging from the surveillance and wiretapping during this period, the detectives clearly sensed that these nominal friends just wanted to “take advantage of Jimmy Chung.”
  ”But Jimmy Chung wants to be loved, and Jimmy Chung wants friends.”
  In the end, this desire to be loved also led to his imprisonment.
  Unsolved many years of unresolved case.
  Because this theft case has been unresolved, Jimmy Zhong, who was previously inconspicuous, came into the police’s sight.
  At the time, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division was investigating a Bitcoin theft from years ago. In a 2012 hacker attack, someone stole 50,000 Bitcoins from a dark web. It is reported that the website is one of the earliest crypto markets, where anonymous buyers and sellers exchange various illegal materials. It’s full of drugs, guns, porn, and other stuff people want to keep secret.
  For years, investigators could only trace the location of stolen bitcoins on the blockchain, but never the identity of the person behind them.
  During this period, the value of the stolen Bitcoins has soared to over $3 billion.
  Originally, the police thought that the investigation would eventually be fruitless. However, after waiting quietly for several years, the police finally caught the hacker and took action again. In September 2019, hackers moved funds from one account to another and then moved a portion of the funds through a cryptocurrency “mixer” to disguise the source of the funds.
  However, the hacker accidentally made a mistake during the process, that is, he transferred approximately $800 worth of funds to a cryptocurrency exchange. According to the exchange’s rules, account holders must fill in their real names and addresses.
  After some investigation, the police discovered that the account was registered in the name of Jimmy Chung, and this transaction occurred six months after Jimmy Chung called the police.
  However, this alone is not enough to prove that Jimmy Chung is a hacker. In order to obtain further evidence, the IRS decisively sought help from the local police station.
  Under the guise of Jimmy Zhong’s Bitcoin theft case, the local police contacted Jimmy Zhong again.
  When investigators knocked on Jimmy Chung’s door, Jimmy Chung opened the door enthusiastically. At that time, he thought the police and experts were here to help solve his cold case. He also said very happily, “If you help me solve this problem, I will invite you to a party.”
  In the video recorded by the police, the police poured Ecstasy on Jimmy Chung as soon as they arrived, not only praising him He is young and promising, and he praised his house very well.
  After a lot of compliments, the police asked to visit the house, and Jimmy Chung agreed without much thought. During the visit, the police kept knocking on the house and seemed to be very interested in the things in the house. In fact, they were searching the house for secret rooms.
  Jimmy Chung, who thought he was showing guests around, then took the initiative to take the investigators to the basement, and then began to introduce his various collections.
  During our exchange, one of the investigators “accidentally” mentioned that Jimmy Chung had a unique way of using the keyboard.
  ”You are so at ease on the keyboard. I have never seen anyone so at ease on the keyboard. You don’t use a mouse because you know all the hot keys.”
  After a round of compliments, Jimmy Chung was once again carried away.
  Then, at the “request” of the police, Jimmy Chung began to demonstrate how to obtain Bitcoin. Although investigators were asked to turn around when Jimmy Chung entered his password, investigators saw Jimmy Chung’s Bitcoin wallet when Jimmy Chung turned on his computer.
  ”Look, he has sixty or seventy million US dollars worth of Bitcoins, right next to us.” As soon as this evidence came out, investigators were immediately convinced that Jimmy Chung was the person they were looking for.
  On November 19, 2021, after obtaining a federal search warrant, the police officially conducted a search of Jimmy Chung’s home. Looking at everything that happened suddenly, Jimmy Zhong was obviously confused. “His expression was like, ‘Am I being fooled?'” After law enforcement officers rushed into Jimmy Chung’s home, they found a Cheetos snack jar in an upstairs closet with a computer and software hidden inside. There are millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin.
  Later, using trained sniffer dogs to detect electronic devices, law enforcement officers discovered a safe buried in concrete under the basement floor tiles. The safe contained precious metals, stacks of cash and physical bitcoins minted in the cryptocurrency’s early days, court documents said. They also found a wallet containing some of the bitcoins from a 2012 dark web theft.
  The evidence is conclusive, there is nothing to quibble about!
  In this way, Jimmy Chung was imprisoned.
  A case that has been pending
  for several years has finally been solved, and every investigator is extremely excited. As a result, when they started to sort out the evidence, they found out that Jimmy Zhong turned out to be a veteran figure in the Bitcoin circle.
  This discovery made investigators suddenly realize that this case turned out to be a self-inflicted theft: a hacker who himself participated in the development of Bitcoin later became one of the largest Bitcoin thieves in history.
  At this moment, the whole story seems to be full of irony: “Bitcoin is always full of irony. There is an irony in one Bitcoin supporter stealing Bitcoin from another Bitcoin supporter. But I think, This is also part of the definition of Bitcoin to some extent.”
  After his arrest, Jimmy Chung was charged with wire fraud.
  On April 4, 2023, the federal court opened a hearing on this case. In court, Jimmy Zhong explained his entire theft process.
  In 2012, Jimmy Chung wanted to buy some cocaine, so he logged onto a darknet website called “Silk Road.” To buy the cocaine, he first went to withdraw some Bitcoins. When he double-clicked to withdraw, the website actually gave him double the bitcoins at once.
  Realizing that there was a loophole in the website, Jimmy Zhong withdrew 50,000 Bitcoins, worth $600,000 at the time, in just a few hours through repeated deposits and withdrawals. Because Bitcoin transactions are anonymous, the darknet “Silk Road” had no way of knowing Jimmy Chung’s identity when it realized it had been stolen.
  So this theft seemed like a perfect crime in 2012.
  In the following nearly 10 years, Bitcoin has skyrocketed from US$600,000 to US$3.3 billion today. Jimmy Chung also gradually forgot the theft he had committed.
  However, the Skynet is full of details, and there are no omissions!
  With advances in technology and strict regulatory controls, law enforcement can now track the movement of illegal cryptocurrencies through the blockchain and uncover the true identities of those behind them.
  After Jimmy Chung pleaded guilty in court, he was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison. On July 14, 33-year-old Jimmy Chung began serving his sentence at the federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama.
  The stolen Bitcoins were also confiscated by the U.S. government.
  According to a confiscation document reviewed by US media, US officials also launched a program to allow hacking victims to apply to get their Bitcoin back, but no one came forward to claim it.
  However, this result is not surprising at all, because the users of the dark web Silk Road in 2012 were mainly drug dealers and their customers.
  How dare they!

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