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- Furthermore, this review is critical to determine the exact class of plaintiffs which may satisfy the standing test in the start-up environment. If an entrepreneur had a business idea involving Bitcoin, but took no affirmative action to start the business before the Regulation went into effect, certainly that entrepreneur could not satisfy the standing test. If an entrepreneur had an established business in New York involving Bitcoin for ten years leading up to the Regulation going into effect, courts would easily find that this person suffered an injury and therefore satisfies the standing test. However, if an entrepreneur created a start-up business and took affirmative steps towards that end, then got stopped by a regulation, the entrepreneur’s rights would be severely impaired under this Court’s ruling. Therefore, the Court of Appeals must be provided with an opportunity to determine when a start-up business that has taken affirmative steps and expended a non-trivial amount of money can satisfy the injury prong of the standing analysis.
- Finally, Theo Chino stopped operating his Bitcoin processing business on January 4, 2016, the same date he received the letter from DFS, to avoid running afoul of the Regulation. His fears were well-founded because DFS has an inherent power to enforce all its regulations since their promulgation. Furthermore, in early 2016, the Bitcoin industry was roiled by the U.S. Department of Justice’s numerous prosecutions of both businesses and individuals who offered cryptocurrency exchange services. SeeUnited States v Murgio, 209 F. Supp. 3d 698 [SDNY 2016]; United States v. Faiella, 39 F Supp 3d 544 [SDNY 2014]; United States v Budovsky, No. 13-cr-368 [DLC], 2015 US Dist LEXIS 127717 [SDNY Sep. 23, 2015]; United States v E-Gold, Ltd., 550 F Supp 2d 82 [DDC 2008]; United States v Ulbricht, 31 F Supp 3d 540 [SDNY 2014]. Those prosecutions were focused on whether a cryptocurrency business was supposed to be subject to the federal requirements related to money transmitter statutes, creating significant uncertainty in the industry.
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Virtual currencies. Virtual currencies offer yet another alternative to cash. Criminals seek to use virtual currencies to conduct illicit transactions because they offer potential anonymity, since virtual currency transactions are not necessarily tied to a real world identity and enable criminals to quickly move criminal proceeds among countries. Some of those countries, unlike the United States, do not currently regulate virtual currencies and therefore have limited oversight and few AML controls. For example, in its 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) concluded that China-based firms manufacturing goods used in trade-based money laundering schemes often prefer to accept payment in bitcoin, the most widely used virtual currency, because bitcoin can be used to anonymously transfer value overseas, thereby circumventing China’s capital controls. Moreover, transnational criminal organizations are able to convert cash drug proceeds to virtual currencies through both licensed and unlicensed exchangers, and then transfer the virtual currencies to China to purchase Chinese goods.
Some internet sites using virtual currencies are promoted specifically for criminal use. For example, until the government shut it down in 2013, Liberty Reserve, which billed itself as the internet’s largest payment processor and money transfer system and allowed users around the world to send and receive payments using digital currencies, was used by online criminals to launder the proceeds of Ponzi schemes, credit card trafficking, stolen identity information, and computer hacking schemes. Liberty Reserve’s founder, Arthur Budovsky, built and operated Liberty Reserve expressly to facilitate large-scale money laundering for criminals around the globe by providing them near-anonymity and untraceable financial transactions. In 2016, Budovsky pleaded guilty to money laundering charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Many of the traditional transnational crimes that HSI investigates have begun to migrate to become “cyber-enabled,” with significant parts of the crime committed over the internet, including both the “indexed” internet and the “unindexed” dark web. Transnational crimes that HSI investigates, including child exploitation, drug smuggling, intellectual property rights violations, illegal export of firearms, and money laundering now all have cyber-enabled elements to them. This transition has paralleled the growth of e-commerce, generally, and poses challenges for law enforcement, in particular HSI and CBP.
In addition to the traditional complexities posed by conducting cyber investigations, many of the illicit activities conducted in cyber-enabled crimes are paid for with virtual currency, including both centralized and decentralized convertible virtual currencies. The latter are sometimes referred to as cryptocurrencies. Virtual currencies are not issued or backed by any sovereign nation, and are distinguished from fiat currency or “real currency,” which is the coin and paper money of a country that is issued and guaranteed by the country; designated as its legal tender; and circulates and is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the issuing country. HSI agents are increasingly encountering virtual currency, including more recent, anonymity enhancing cryptocurrencies (AECs), in the course of their investigations. AECs are designed to better obfuscate transaction information and are increasingly preferred by TCOs. Some illicit virtual currency exchangers have also begun to cater to TCO actors, including through the use of “mixers” or “tumblers” that anonymize virtual currency addresses and transactions by weaving together inflows and outflows from different users, further increasing the challenge to law enforcement’s ability to tie virtual currency transactions to real world individuals.
In November 2016, HSI special agents investigated and seized $1.2 million in cash from Utah resident Aaron Shamo, who led a Xanax and fentanyl pill production organization. Shamo sold his illicit products via the dark web, and an investigation led to the identification of his virtual currency wallet address. Through the use of Blockchain analysis tools, agents were able to identify Shamo’s Bitcoin transactions and seize bitcoins valued at approximately $2.5 million in U.S. dollars. Shamo was indicted in December 2016 and the subject of a supersceding indictment in May 2017.
In another HSI opioid smuggling investigation, Pennsylvania resident Henry Koffie was arrested in July 2017 and indicted with Distribution of a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death and Importation of a Controlled Substance. Koffie, a.k.a. NARCOBOSS, was a dark web vendor of fentanyl who filled more than 7,800 orders between July 2016 to June 2017, most of it paid for with bitcoin. HSI seized $154,000 from Koffie’s accounts.
NEW YORK Bitcoin qualifies as money, a federal judge ruled on Monday, in a decision linked to a criminal case over hacking attacks against JPMorgan Chase & Co and other companies.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan rejected a bid by Anthony Murgio to dismiss two charges related to his alleged operation of Coin.mx, which prosecutors have called an unlicensed bitcoin exchange.
Murgio had argued that bitcoin did not qualify as "Funds" under the federal law prohibiting the operation of unlicensed money transmitting businesses.
"Anthony Murgio maintains his innocence and looks forward to clearing his name at his upcoming trial," he added.
Prosecutors last year charged Murgio over the operation of Coin.mx, and in April charged his father Michael with participating in bribery aimed at supporting it.
He hired new lawyers last month and is seeking permission to replace lawyers who joined the case in June, a Monday court filing showed.
NEW YORK A Florida man pleaded guilty on Monday to charges that he conspired to operate an illegal bitcoin exchange, which prosecutors said was owned by an Israeli who oversaw a massive scheme to hack companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co(JPM.N).
Anthony Murgio, 33, entered his plea in federal court in Manhattan to three counts, including conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, a month before he was to face trial.
Prosecutors said Murgio operated Coin.mx, which without a license exchanged millions of dollars into bitcoin, including for victims of ransomware, a computer virus that seeks payment, often in the virtual currency, to unlock data it restricts.
Prosecutors said Coin.mx was operated from 2013 to 2015 through several fronts, including one called "Collectables Club," to trick financial institutions into believing it was a members-only group interested in collectables like stamps.
Prosecutors said the men carried out the cybercrimes to further other schemes with another Israeli, Ziv Orenstein, including pumping up stock prices with sham promotional emails.
Five other individuals have been charged in connection with Coin.mx, including Murgio's father.
Two Israelis and an American hacked into JPMorgan Chase, Fidelity, Dow Jones, and nine other companies in the largest cyber-attack on US financial institutions ever - stealing personal data of more than 100 million customers, the feds said Tuesday.
"We have exposed a cybercriminal enterprise that for years successfully and secretly hacked into the networks of a dozen companies, allegedly stealing personal information of over 100 million people, including over 80 million customers from one financial institution alone," Bharara said.
The three, along with co-conspirator Anthony Murgio, had previously been accused of hacking into JPMorgan last year and stealing personal information from 83 million customers.
The hackers were involved an extremely broad array of cybercrimes, from hacking to operating illegal online casinos and running an illegal bitcoin exchange-all to become massively wealthy in short order, according to the indictment.
The four conspirators tried to hack into the financial companies in order to get rich off manipulating the stock market, according to the indictment from Bharara's office.
While the JPMorgan hack was successful in getting some customer information, others were less so.
MURGIO and his co-conspirators engaged in substantial efforts to evade detection of their unlawful Bitcoin exchange by operating through a phony front company called the “Collectables Club.” MURGIO used the Collectables Club to open financial accounts in order to trick financial institutions into believing the unlawful Bitcoin exchange was simply a members-only association of individuals ... M urgio was accused of operating the bitcoin exchange, Coin.mx, that laundered cash for Internet criminals, including drug dealers, and facilitated extortion schemes.. He was accused of operating an unlicensed money transfer business that used bitcoin to launder cash. The plea comes less than three weeks after prosecutors released a new indictment against Murgio and two others. Murgio Senior Avoids Jail in Bitcoin Exchange Coin.mx Case The indictment alleges that in April 2014 Michael Murgio executed an agreement with Gross on behalf of Coin.mx. Aziz Abdel-Qader News (CryptoCurrency ) Friday, 27/01/2017 23:23 GMT+2 2017-01-27T21:23:40+00:00 2017-01-29T07:54:58+00:00. Photo: Bloomberg . Share this article. Finance Magnates Telegram Channel; Michael Murgio, a ... Tampa's Anthony Murgio, 33, was sentenced Tuesday to 5-1/2 years in prison for running a bitcoin exchange suspected of laundering money for a group of hackers who targeted publishing and financial ... Murgio, who often posted about libertarian causes and uses a photo of himself with Ron Paul as his Facebook profile, registered the Coin.mx domain in October 2013 and started a Bitcoin exchange ...
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