The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reportedly busted a group of Indian nationals who allegedly operated an unlicensed business converting cryptocurrency to cash for clients seeking anonymity.
The Westfair Business Journal reports that five of the six suspects were arrested on October 17th and charged with operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
Indian citizens Raju Patel, Brijeshkumar Patel, Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel and Shaileshkumar Goyani were named in the complaint.
Daniel A. Hochheiser, lawyer for Goyani, says the allegations against his client are unproven.
“If and when a grand jury issues an indictment, Goyani will enter a not guilty plea.”
According to court documents, the suspects delivered cash on behalf of a co-conspirator who offered services on darknet marketplaces and peer-to-peer exchanges to ship cash via U.S. Postal Service express mail or priority mail in exchange for Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.
Authorities cracked down on the illegal operation after arresting an individual who had been mailing packages of cash on behalf of the co-conspirator from a post office in Westchester County, New York. The individual in question later became an FBI confidential source.
Through the 80 controlled cash pickups that the confidential source agreed to participate in, the FBI learned that the bundles of money were delivered by the six suspects on behalf of the unnamed co-conspirator.
“From February 10, 2023, through on or about September 27, 2023, CS-1 (confidential source), as part of his cooperation, arranged and participated in approximately 80 controlled pick-ups of cash totaling approximately $15,067,000.”
FBI Special Agent Lawrence Lonergan says the business violates state and federal laws.
“By failing to register with FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), a money-transmitting business prevents the Treasury from ensuring that the business is properly filing CTRs (currency transaction reports) and SARs (suspicious activity reports).
This has the effect of allowing an unregistered money transmitting business to operate as a shadow bank through which funds can pass without being subjected to the scrutiny that Congress has sought to impose upon the United States financial system.”Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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