21-Year-Old Trader Prosecuted Over Bitcoin Money Laundering

A 21-year-old bitcoin dealer from California is being prosecuted for allegedly committing numerous counts of illegal money transmission and money laundering.

According to an announcement from the Department of Justice in the Southern District of California, Jacob Burrell Campos was ordered to be held without bail at a hearing on Friday in connection to the charges.

Based on a court filing against him entered on Aug. 8 and unsealedover the weekend, the prosecutors alleged that, from January 2015 to April 2016, Burrell sold about $750,000 worth of bitcoin to 900 individuals in the U.S. via his bitcoin exchange service.

The document said Burrell had not registered the exchange as a licensed money transmitter and intentionally failed to implement anti-money laundering measures. As such, he was accused of one count of illegal money transmission and one count of money laundering.

Further, the prosecutors said in order to fund his “illegal” bitcoin exchange, Burrell committed a total 28 counts of international money laundering. From February 2015 to February 2016, Burrell allegedly wired at least $900,000 in 30 transactions from his bank accounts in the U.S. to Hong Kong-based crypto exchange Bitfinex to buy bitcoin.

The transfers were allegedly conducted in an effort to avoid ID verification processes after Burrell’s trading account with U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase was closed, the document said.

The prosecutors said in the announcement:

“Burrell’s activities ‘blew a giant hole’ through the legal framework of U.S. anti-money laundering laws by soliciting and introducing into the U.S. banking system close to $1 million in unregulated cash.”

The defendant is also facing a further charge of structuring international instrument transactions to evade reporting, when he tried to smuggle around $1 million from Mexico into the U.S.

If Burrell is convicted on any of the money laundering charges, the U.S. government plans to forfeit “any property, real and personal, involved in such offense, and any property traceable to such property.”