The US has sentenced a cryptocurrency exchange owner to 10 years in prison. He “knowingly and intentionally engaged in business practices designed to assist fraudsters in laundering the proceeds of their fraud and to protect themselves from criminal liability,” claims the Justice Department.
Crypto Exchange owner sentenced to 10 years in prison
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday that a bitcoin exchange owner has been sentenced to 121 months in prison “for his role in a multimillion-dollar, transnational plan to defraud US victims.”
After his conviction last September, Rossen G. Iossifov was convicted “of conspiracy to commit a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) offense and conspiracy to commit money laundering.”
The DOJ explained that the 53-year-old Bulgarian citizen owned and operated a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria called RG Coins. He is said to have “knowingly and intentionally engaged in business practices designed to assist fraudsters in laundering the proceeds of their fraud and to protect themselves from criminal liability.” The Justice Department claimed that at least five of its main clients were “Romanian scammers, who belong to a criminal enterprise known in court records as the Alexandria (Romania) Online Auction Fraud (AOAF) Network.”
Iossifov and his co-conspirators “engaged in a massive scheme of online auction fraud that killed at least 900 Americans,” the DOJ said, adding that once the victims sent payment:
The conspiracy involved a complicated money laundering program whereby domestic employees would accept victim funds, convert those funds into cryptocurrency, and transfer cryptocurrency proceeds to money launderers based abroad.
“Iossifov was one of those foreign-based money launderers who facilitated this final step in the plan,” noted the DOJ.
The Justice Department further claimed that “Iossifov designed his company to cater to criminal enterprises by offering, for example, more favorable exchange rates to members of the AOAF network,” explaining:
Iossifov also allowed his criminal clients to conduct cryptocurrency exchanges for cash without needing any identification or documentation to show the source of the money, despite his contradictions with the major bitcoin exchanges that his company supported.
According to the DOJ, Iossifov laundered nearly $ 5 million worth of cryptocurrency for four scammers in less than three years. He also defrauded more than $ 7 million from American victims and made more than $ 184,000 in proceeds from these transactions.
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