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Three Common Dark Web Crimes and the Charges Associated With Them

The Dark Web is a part of the internet that is hidden from view by ordinary browsers. It is only accessible through specialized software, such as the Tor browser. Because dark web users are anonymous, the Dark Web has a reputation for being a home for many kinds of illegal activity.

The crimes associated with this type of illegal activity on the Dark Web carry serious penalties. If you are accused of any Dark Web crime, you need to retain an experienced lawyer for Dark Web Crimes and one who has experience defending clients accused of dark web crimes. The cases can be complex and require a sophisticated approach.

The Dark Web has facilitated the growth of online marketplaces known as “Darknet markets.” In 2022, the world’s largest darknet marketplace Hydra was shut down by Law Enforcement, but this hasn’t stopped the growth of darknet marketplaces. Darknet marketplaces even post job ads for software developers who can be employed in scams, malware and phishing.

So what are the most common kinds of Dark Web crimes, and what can you expect if you face charges associated with them? Many Dark Web crimes face federal charges and a lawyer with experience in federal Dark Web crimes can help secure your defense.

Dark Web Drug Crimes

Selling drugs through the mail via the Dark Web is an attractive business model because it seems anonymous and free of risk. If you are charged with a crime, however, the consequences can be extremely severe. Because the distribution of controlled substances takes place through the US Mail, those charged with Dark Web drug crimes may be charged with federal crimes, such as federal drug trafficking. Some schedule I and II substances carry sentences of 5, 10, or even 20 years for a first offense, depending on the substance and the quantity.


Phishing involves sending emails or otherwise posing as a trusted person or entity, such as a bank, and then getting a user to click on links that activate malware that can be used to steal sensitive information. Phishing can comprise a number of crimes, and as with drug trafficking through the Dark Web, it is often charged as a federal crime due to the interstate nature of communication via the Dark Web. The crimes associated with phishing include identity theft, and wire fraud. As a federal crime, phishing carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison, along with fines and restitution. A charge of wire fraud is even more serious. It can result in fines and imprisonment of up to 20 years in prison.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is another common crime associated with the Dark Web. The Dark Web is used to funnel money from illegal activities through anonymous accounts and shell companies. Money Laundering is punishable at the state level by jail time of up to 6 years. A federal charge of money laundering can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years. There are often considerable fines associated with the crime of money laundering.

The Dark Web is associated with a whole host of crimes, and some of the most common crimes are white collar crimes like money laundering, identity theft and fraud. The Dark Web may seem anonymous, but law enforcement is ramping up its presence there. What’s more, these crimes are often investigated by federal agents and the charges associated with them can be serious and life-changing. Other crimes associated with the dark web include sex trafficking, the sale of illegal firearms, computer hacking, extortion and blackmail (such as in ransom attacks using malicious software known as ransomware).

Simply put, if you are being investigated for Dark Web crimes, you have a high likelihood of being charged with a federal crime. If you are charged with a federal crime, you need to get an experienced and hard hitting Dark Web criminal law attorney ASAP.

At Dhar Law, LLP, our experienced criminal law attorneys believe in the right to a fair trial. We have decades of experience defending the most serious cases in federal courts. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have been charged with any crime associated with the Dark Web.

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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

I have the power and the skill to be able to save people from themselves. I can be your guide during the darkness. I can hold your hand and navigate you out of the darkness into the light.

— Vikas Dhar
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