Unlicensed crypto exchange operator faces 25 years for laundering $13M

49-year-old peer-to-peer crypto dealer, Hugo Sergio Mejia, has agreed to plead responsible to costs of money laundering and working an unlicensed cash transmitting enterprise.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office accuses Mejia of utilizing a collection of restricted legal responsibility companies to hide the true nature of his operations whereas exchanging money for Bitcoins over a interval spanning greater than two years.

The complaint accuses Mejia of transferring funds between Bitcoin and U.S. {dollars} value a minimum of $13 million for purchasers from Could 2018 and September 2020 utilizing his firms Worldwide Safe Communications, World Safe Information, and The HODL Group.

In keeping with the proposed plea settlement, Mejia negotiated with a shopper who was cooperating with legislation enforcement to alternate Bitcoin for tens of hundreds of {dollars} in money between Could 2019 and March 2020.

Regardless of the shopper informing Mejia that his main buyer was an Australian methamphetamine purchaser throughout a gathering in March 2020, Meija was keen to proceed with the transaction. The criticism states Mejia carried out transactions value greater than 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 {dollars} for the shopper:

“Mejia and the shopper who was working with legislation enforcement carried out 5 Bitcoin-cash transactions that cumulatively exceeded $250,000, the plea settlement states.”

The shopper carried out a minimum of 5 transactions value greater than $250,000 in complete.

As a part of his plea deal, Mejia has agreed to forfeit virtually $234,000 in money and roughly $95,500 in cryptocurrency and metals that have been discovered at his California residences.

The deal additionally mandates that any further, Meija will “preserve, at most, one digital foreign money pockets, and that one pockets shall be used for all private transactions, restricted to solely utilizing and possessing open public blockchain digital currencies and restricted from utilizing privacy-based blockchain digital currencies.”

Mejia was charged on Friday, Jan. 29, and is anticipated to plead responsible to 1 depend of cash laundering and one depend of working an unlicensed cash alternate which he didn’t register with the Treasury Division’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Mejia is anticipated to go earlier than a U.S. district court docket in March and faces a most statutory sentence of 25 years behind bars in federal jail.