On October 18, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) charged six people with operating an unauthorized money-transmitting company involving $30 million in cryptocurrencies. These charges, revealed in court records filed in the Southern District of New York, allege that the defendants exchanged Bitcoin and other digital currencies for cash on the darknet, all without the essential money transmission license required by the State of New York.
The FBI agent’s unsealed affidavit stated that the accused carried out their operation between July 2021 and September 2023, and the identities of those charged are Shaileshkumar Goyani, Brijeshkumar Patel, Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel, and Raju Patel. Naineshkumar Patel, on the other hand, was granted conditional release.
The alleged involvement in money laundering and links to illicit activity is one of the most troubling parts of this case.
According to the affidavit, an unnamed co-conspirator told an undercover officer that their cryptocurrency-to-cash trade had produced approximately $30 million in the previous three years. The co-conspirator further revealed that some of the clients were involved in illicit activities such as drug trafficking, with the wealthiest clients being identified as hackers.
On February 7, 2023, law enforcement agents detained a person who was in charge of mailing cash parcels on behalf of an undisclosed co-conspirator. However, the guy, who was said to be operating from a post office in Westchester County, New York, later cooperated with the FBI, leading to new information on the case.
The source was involved in over 80 controlled cash pick-ups totaling $15 million over the period of eight months, according to the filing.
Photographic and video surveillance data given in the petition reveals that none of the defendants operated a licensed money-transmitting business, as is required in New York. The instances highlight the cryptocurrency industry’s escalating risk of cybercrime and crypto-related hacks.
However, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged Roman, but co-founder Roman Storm is still missing.
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