Cryptocurrency exchanges have become one of the most luxurious businesses in the crypto space as they provide a means to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. However, as cryptocurrency exchanges slowly go mainstream, they are required to register with relevant agencies to ensure they operate within the purviews of the law. Some people in New Hampshire didn’t do that, and they were arrested for it.
Six people charged for running an unlicensed crypto exchange
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that it had charged six people from New Hampshire for operating an unregistered cryptocurrency exchange business. The DOJ charged the suspects with wire fraud and participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In its statement on March 16, the DOJ said, “Six individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury in New Hampshire and charged with participating in a conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and other offenses, Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley announced today.”
The six individuals are Ian Freeman, 40; Nobody (formerly Richard Paul), 52; Aria DiMezzo, 34; Colleen Fordham, 60; Renee Spinella, 23; and Andrew Spinella, 35. According to the DOJ, the suspects knowingly violated federal anti-money laundering laws by running an unlicensed fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange business.
“According to the indictment, since 2016, the defendants have operated a business that enabled customers to exchange over ten million dollars in fiat currency for virtual currency, charging a fee for their service,” the DOJ added.
The team operates its cryptocurrency exchange using websites and Bitcoin ATMs in New Hampshire. They also opened bank accounts using made-up religious entities, allowing them to evade detection.
The case is a massive one as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and the United States Postal Inspection Service are all investigating it.
The DOJ concluded, saying that “The charges in the indictment are only allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”