Charlie Shrem pleads guilty to aiding and abetting unlicensed money-transmitting business

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Charlie Shrem pleads guilty to aiding and abetting unlicensed money-transmitting business

On the expected lines, 24 years old, Bitcoin evangelist Charles Shrem pleaded guilty in a federal court in Manhattan. The case was regarding his involvement in aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money-transmitting business. He was also involved in Silk Road was an underground operator of drugs which was shut down by the US authorities.

The Manhattan attorney’s office has alleged that Robert Faiella, who was Mr. Shrem’s accomplice, has also pleaded guilty for operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. Now, under the plea agreements, they may face sentences of 57- to 60-months imprisonment and fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of money derived from the crime or two times the loss to the victim, whichever is greatest.

However, the quantum of punishment has to be decided by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff who is hearing the case. In his statement to media the much famed Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that the approximately $1 million in Bitcoins Faiella and Shrem sold to these outlaws cost them a lot more than they bargained for and bought them today’s convictions.

The last year, Silk Road was caught by the US government operating a syndicate of drugs and selling in exchange of Bitcoin. Giving interesting twist to the event, Shrem’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo said that though his client pleaded guilty, he got victory for his client as the government decided to drop a money-laundering count against Mr. Shrem.

Two fellows have agreed to forfeit $950,000 to the government

Marc Agnifilo pleased in court that he did know Bitcoins were being used to purchase illegal narcotics and pleaded guilty to operating such a business. Now that the two have pleaded guilty as part of a deal struck with prosecutors from the office of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara, they are going to face another trial on September 22.

Earlier ForexMinute had reported in January that after facing a lot of pressure from all corners, Charlie Shrem, accused of supporting an illicit Bitcoin exchange for users of Silk Road, the underground marketplace best known for illegal drugs, had to resign from his post of Vice Chairman at The Bitcoin Foundation.

Now that Shrem has admitted that he processed transactions for Faiella through BitInstant despite knowing the Bitcoin would eventually find their way to Silk Road, where the funds would be used for drugs, the two fellows have agreed to forfeit $950,000 to the government as part of their plea deals.

To contact the reporter of this story: Deepak Tiwari at deepak@forexminute.com