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‘Darknet’ market spokesman gets nearly 4 years in prison

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Ronald L. Wheeler III of Streamwood, was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison for his work as spokesman for a "darknet" marketplace used for illegal online sales. | AP file photo

ATLANTA — A man who worked as a spokesman for a “darknet” marketplace used for illegal online sales has been sentenced in Atlanta to serve nearly four years in federal prison.

Ronald L. Wheeler III of Streamwood, Illinois, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit access device fraud. A judge on Tuesday sentenced him to serve three years and 10 months in prison. His plea agreement also requires him to forfeit $27,562 in cash found in his home and 13.97 bitcoins, which are worth more than $100,000.

Prosecutors say Wheeler, known online as Trappy and Trappy_Pandora, began working as AlphaBay’s public relations specialist in May 2015. They say he helped traffic in personal information.

Authorities have said AlphaBay was the world’s leading darknet marketplace before it was shut down by law enforcement in July 2017.

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