According to sources from state authorities in Florida, they have taken action against three men who allegedly ran illegal businesses moving large amounts of cash in and out of the Bitcoin virtual currency. In consequence, the authorities have framed criminal charges targeting the three accused which is going to be the first case involving Bitcoin vendors.
Nonetheless, working in conjunction with the Miami Beach Police Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office, undercover officers and agents from the US Secret Service’s Miami Electronic Crimes Task Force contacted several individuals who were facilitating high-dollar transactions via localbitcoins.com.
Charges for Violating the Florida Money Laundering Laws
Localbitcoin.com is a site that helps match buyers and sellers of the virtual currency so that transactions can be completed face-to-face. The authorities in their documents to the court have claimed that Michelhack wanted to use Bitcoin to purchase stolen credit cards online and then allegedly agreed to handle a much larger deal.
Michelhack converted $30,000 in cash into Bitcoin and according to investigators they did not face much trouble in identifying him who according to them has the actual name of Michell Abner Espinoza of Miami Beach. The authorities later on arrested Espinoza and charged him with felony violations of Florida’s law against unlicensed money transmitters.
Florida’s law prohibits “currency or payment instruments exceeding $300 but less than $20,000 in any 12-month period.” Also, anti-money laundering statutes of Florida prohibit the trade or business in currency of more than $10,000. Nonetheless, when the cops conducted a search warrant on his residence, they seized computer systems and digital media as well.
Action against Localbitcoins.com When the US Authorities Auctioning BTCs Next Month
This is going to be the first case in which Bitcoin vendors have been prosecuted under state anti-money laundering laws. Nonetheless, the action will also mean that one of the last remaining avenues for purchasing Bitcoin anonymously will be shut in due process. This is major action against money laundering done using Bitcoin.
According to the Florida authorities, they believe that Reid had 403 Bitcoin in his on-phone Bitcoin wallet alone. Nonetheless, it is still unclear how the defendants Espinoza and Reid were able to obtain so many Bitcoin for sale. The action against the three people has come at a time when the US authorities are auctioning the seized Bitcoin from Silk Road owner Ross Ulbricht.
To contact the reporter of this story: Deepak Tiwari at firstname.lastname@example.org