Robert Faiella Sentenced by the US Court for Operating an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business


Robert Faiella Sentenced by the US Court for Operating an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business

The judgment for the case is U.S. v. Faiella has been delivered by the US District Court, Southern District of New York. The Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan held Robert Faiella guilty as he pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. The judgment says that this Florida plumber operated an underground Bitcoin exchange selling the digital currency to users.

He used the black market website Silk Road which was shut down by the US authorities for providing platform to illicit drug peddling. The 55 year old was sentenced by the court after he pleaded guilty in September to operating an unlicensed money transfer business. His co-defendant, Charlie Shrem has also been found guilty.

Interestingly, Robert Faiella received the sentence a year after prosecutors unveiled charges against him and Charlie Shrem. The Judge Rakoff sentenced Charlie Shrem in December to two years in prison for aiding and abetting an unlicensed money transmitting business. They have been found guilty of helping out Silk Road that was involved in peddling illicit goods.

Rakoff though sentenced Charlie Shrem for two years, he found that Faiella also forfeit $950,000, deserved a harsher sentence, citing in part a prior conviction for a tax offence. He held, “He knew from his own criminal history the nature of the risk he was taking, and he knowingly assumed that risk.

Faiella must report to prison on March 3

The judgment from Rakoff came after prosecutors argued that from December 2011 to October 2013, Faiella sold Bitcoin for cash to users of Silk Road, a website that by the time authorities closed it had $200 million in drug sales. They informed that operating under the name BTCKing, he would fill user orders for Bitcoin through Shrem’s exchange, BitInstant.

The prosecutors believe that Faiella ultimately traded over $1 million in cash. However, the lawyers defending Faiella claim that he was a licensed plumber and his crimes were motivated by a desperate financial situation amid job and medical problems. Faiella claimed that at the time of the offence, he saw no other way.

Informing the media assistant US Attorney Alexander Wilson said Faiella had many opportunities to stop his criminal activity; however, he continued, even after Silk Road was shut down. He said that Faiella must report to prison on March 3. Some other culprits like Ulbricht, 30, faces seven counts including narcotics trafficking conspiracy.

To contact the reporter of this story: Deepak Tiwari at

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