A US citizen from California has just pled guilty in federal court for operating an “unlicensed money business” selling Bitcoin (BTC), called LocalBitcoins.com. The Department of Justice (DoJ) released a press release about the case yesterday, October 29th.
Unlicensed Bitcoin (BTC) Sales
Jacob Burrell Campos has admitted to selling “hundreds of thousands” of dollars in Bitcoin (BTC) to over 1,000 customers on LocalBitcoins.com. The transactions took place from January 2015 to April 2016. The DoJ has characterized his sales as an unregistered ‘Bitcoin exchange.’
Burrell failed to register his business with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the US Department of Treasury and did not apply due diligence on the sources of his client’s funds, such as AML.
“Unlicensed money transmitting businesses, especially those operating at or near the border, pose a serious threat to the integrity of the US banking system, and provide an ‘open door’ for criminals to utilize such businesses to launder the proceeds of their illicit activities,” said US Attorney Adam Braverman. “The Department of Justice will continue to investigate and prosecute all individuals and businesses that seek to evade the licensing and anti-money laundering requirements under federal law.”
In addition to failing to comply with federal regulations, Burrell admitted that his account on an unnamed US crypto exchange had been closed due to suspicious transactions.
After being shut down on that exchange, he turned to a Hong Kong-based platform and purchased $2.29 million worth of Bitcoin in a two-year span. Burrell conducted hundreds of transactions with this exchange from March 2015 to April 2017.
The press release concludes with Burrell admitting that his exchanged USD was stored in Mexico. He has also pled guilty to making a false declaration on his federal tax return and is awaiting that trial in mid-December. Burrell imported over $1 million between late-2016 to early 2017, to evade tax declaration.
Featured Image: Depositphotos/© stevanovicigor