Top US Ketamine Vendor Had Ties to Ex-Wall Street Employee Accused of Money Laundering
A former Goldman Sachs employee indicted on laundering over $2.3 million in Bitcoin for various scamming operations also funded a well-known darknet market vendor specializing in ketamine, according to charges recently filed by New York federal prosecutors.
In addition to converting BTC into cash for carding scammers, Nigerian “catfishers” and an “eastern European crime syndicate,” Thomas Spieker, 42, allegedly provided $38,000 in laundered funds to two people behind the OVO_sweatshop darknet market vendor moniker, Zashan Khan and Cosma Siekierski. The vendor maintained a presence on the Dread forum, racking up hundreds of positive reviews across multiple darknet markets during their 1-2 years in operation.
Investigators allege the OVO_sweatshop vendor name was later taken over by John Humphrey and Fidello Palermo, both 51, who operated it out of a facility in Rochester, New York. The duo were arrested during a trip to Brooklyn where authorities found they were carrying 1.7 kg of ketamine powder/crystals and 140 vials of liquid ketamine.
John Humphrey, left, and Fidello Palermo, right, who allegedly assumed the popular New York ketamine vendor operation. Source: DailyMail.com
A total of seven people are being held in association with Spieker’s actions and face a large assortment of charges, ranging from conspiracy to commit money laundering to illegal drug charges.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Spieker was an Equity Derivates Specialist at Goldman Sachs from Feb 2001 to Mar 2003, founding a hip hop and club music promotion business named S!CK Productions in Nov 2010. His interest in music production and the club scene goes back to the year 2000.
The vendor name stems from a clothing line started by musician Drake, with ‘OVO’ standing for “October’s Very Own.”
OVO_sweatshop vendor profile on the (now defunct) Empire Market. Source: The New York Times
Although Empire Market exit scammed in late August 2020, OVO_sweatshop was quick to set up replacement stores on White House Market and Dark Market within a matter of weeks. The quality of their operation apparently degraded over the following year, with customers complaining on Dread of receiving watered-down product and being victims of selective scamming by the vendor.
OVO_sweatshop also provided pills listed as Xanax and MDMA that received widely varying reviews, although this product took a back seat to their more consistent ketamine-vending operations.
All seven parties arrested and facing trial have pled not guilty to the charges against them.