The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has taken down an alleged unlicensed cryptocurrency-to-cash operation in New York State.
A group of Indian nationals stands accused of running this illicit business, converting digital currency into cash for clients seeking anonymity. Five out of the six suspects were apprehended on October 17th and charged with operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
The individuals named in the complaint include Raju Patel, Brijeshkumar Patel, Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel, and Shaileshkumar Goyani. Daniel A.
Raju Patel, under surveillance on 6th March 2023
Hochheiser, Goyani’s lawyer, maintains that the allegations against his client remain unproven and that Goyani will plead not guilty if indicted.
Court documents reveal that the suspects were responsible for delivering cash on behalf of an unidentified co-conspirator who provided services on darknet marketplaces and peer-to-peer exchanges.
These services involved sending cash via the U.S. Postal Service express mail or priority mail in exchange for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).
The illegal operation came under scrutiny after the arrest of an individual who had been mailing packages of cash on behalf of the co-conspirator from a post office in Westchester County, New York. This individual subsequently became a confidential source for the FBI.
Over the course of their cooperation, the confidential source participated in around 80 controlled cash pickups, amounting to approximately $15,067,000.
FBI Special Agent Lawrence Lonergan pointed out that this unregistered money-transmitting business violated both state and federal laws.
By failing to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the business evaded the oversight required to ensure proper filing of currency transaction reports (CTRs) and suspicious activity reports (SARs). This allowed the unregistered operation to function as a shadow bank, permitting funds to flow without the scrutiny intended by Congress for the U.S. financial system.