A Texas man calling himself a “Bitcoin Doctor” admitted to operating an illegal cryptocurrency trading business, converting cash into Bitcoin. He will face a five-year sentence in federal prison.
Cryptocurrency exchange operator pleads guilty
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Tuesday that Texas resident Mark Alexander Hopkins has admitted to “illegally operating a cash-to-cryptocurrency conversion business.”
The 42-year-old man who calls himself a “Bitcoin Doctor” pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed money transfer business. Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah explained in detail:
The defendant ignored federal laws and allowed fraudsters to use Bitcoin to operate under the surveillance of law enforcement agencies. We are determined to clear the Bitcoin market for anyone who intends to help criminals hide illegal profits in crypto wallets.
Hopkins admitted to operating a cryptocurrency trading business, converting U.S. dollars into cryptocurrencies, mainly Bitcoin, and charging fees. He also admitted that he often sends BTC to customers’ encrypted wallets without taking additional measures to verify the source of cash.
Court documents show that Hopkins helped a customer identified as “MH” convert U.S. dollars from a lottery scam he conducted in Nigeria to Bitcoin. In about a year, he made 37 transactions with scammers, amounting to between 550,000 and 1.5 million U.S. dollars.
According to the Ministry of Justice:
Hopkins admitted that he promised not to participate in the details of MH business transactions, but told MH how to circumvent financial institution reporting requirements by keeping deposits below $9,500, and instructed MH to lie to financial institutions regarding business purposes.
Hopkins admitted that he was not licensed to conduct cryptocurrency transactions in the state, nor was he registered as a remittance business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) under the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Pointing out that the defendant “failed to comply with a federal law requiring remittance companies to verify the customer’s name, date of birth, and address — a law designed to identify persons engaged in illegal activities — and failed to submit a report on high-value currency transactions. Cash transactions,” The U.S. Department of Justice stated:
Hopkins is now facing up to five years in federal prison.
Do you think this Bitcoin doctor should go to jail for five years? Let us know in the comments section below.
Image Source: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons
Disclaimer: This article is for reference only. It is not a direct offer or invitation to buy or sell, nor is it a recommendation or endorsement of any product, service or company. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. The company or the author shall not bear direct or indirect responsibility for any damage or loss caused or claimed to be caused by using or relying on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.