Bitcoin exchange operator to face 25-year jail term over money laundering

TL;DR Breakdown:

  • An Ontario man will face 25-year imprisonment for running an unregistered Bitcoin exchange.
  • He will also forfeit about $233,000, including his properties and cryptocurrencies.

The United States authorities recently charged an Ontario man for illegally running a cryptocurrency exchange, where he converted Bitcoin to cash and also facilitated money laundering. The Bitcoin exchange operator agreed to plead guilty to the charges levied against him. Besides forfeiting the profits made from the crypto exchange, the Ontario man named Hugo Sergio Mejia, will be sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, according to reports.

Mejia made $13 million from the Bitcoin exchange

The 49-year-old man began operating the Bitcoin exchange in May 2018, per the report. He exchanged digital currencies for cash and transacted more than $13 million from that period to September 2020. He also admitted to opening other businesses in order to conceal his main activities from the public. They mostly used encrypted messaging platforms for communications and usually go to coffee shops as the meeting point.

According to the US Department of Justice (DOJ), he was brought to book for the illegal Bitcoin exchange operations after converting about $250,000 crypto to fiat for an undercover agent working with the law enforcement authorities. He was reportedly charged on January 29 for running an unregistered Bitcoin exchange and also facilitating money laundering from the platform. Meiji will plead guilty to the charges against him.

Illegal exchange operations

He also consented to forfeit about $233,000 in cash generated from the Bitcoin exchange, including his houses, cars, and other cryptocurrencies confiscated. According to the report, the Ontario man will face a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment.
Running illegal exchanges attract law enforcement agencies, as they could easily facilitate illegal transactions. Cryptopolitan reported another exchange operator charged for facilitating crypto to fiat transactions without registration. He was also accused of defrauding people through the exchange.

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