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Unlicensed crypto exchange operator faces 25 years for laundering $13m

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49-year-old peer-to-peer crypto dealer, Hugo Sergio Mejia, has agreed to plead responsible to expenses of money laundering and working an unlicensed cash transmitting enterprise.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office accuses Mejia of utilizing a set of restricted legal responsibility firms to hide the true nature of his operations whereas exchanging money for Bitcoins over a interval spanning greater than two years.

The complaint accuses Mejia of transferring funds between Bitcoin and U.S. {dollars} value at the least $13 million for purchasers from Might 2018 and September 2020 utilizing his firms Worldwide Safe Communications, World Safe Knowledge, and The HODL Group.

Based on the proposed plea settlement, Mejia negotiated with a consumer who was cooperating with legislation enforcement to trade Bitcoin for tens of 1000’s of {dollars} in money between Might 2019 and March 2020.

Regardless of the consumer informing Mejia that his major buyer was an Australian methamphetamine purchaser throughout a gathering in March 2020, Meija was prepared to proceed with the transaction. The grievance states Mejia carried out transactions value greater than 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 {dollars} for the consumer:

“Mejia and the consumer who was working with legislation enforcement performed 5 Bitcoin-cash transactions that cumulatively exceeded $250,000, the plea settlement states.”

The consumer performed at the least 5 transactions value greater than $250,000 in complete.

As a part of his plea deal, Mejia has agreed to forfeit nearly $234,000 in money and roughly $95,500 in cryptocurrency and metals that have been discovered at his California residences.

The deal additionally mandates that any longer, Meija will “preserve, at most, one digital forex pockets, and that one pockets shall be used for all private transactions, restricted to solely utilizing and possessing open public blockchain digital currencies and restricted from utilizing privacy-based blockchain digital currencies.”

Mejia was charged on Friday, Jan. 29, and is predicted to plead responsible to at least one rely of cash laundering and one rely of working an unlicensed cash trade which he didn’t register with the Treasury Division’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Mejia is predicted to go earlier than a U.S. district court docket in March and faces a most statutory sentence of 25 years behind bars in federal jail.