A Texas man who calls himself “Doctor Bitcoin” pleaded guilty to having operated an illegal cryptocurrency exchange business converting cash into Bitcoin. He faces five years in federal prison.
Crypto Exchange Operator pleads guilty
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday that a Texas resident, Mark Alexander Hopkins, pleaded guilty to “illegally engaging in a business converting cash into cryptocurrency.”
The 42-year-old man, who calls himself “Doctor Bitcoin,” pleaded guilty to running an unlicensed money transfer company. Acting US attorney Prerak Shah in detail:
This defendant ignored federal law and allowed scammers to use Bitcoin to operate under the radar of law enforcement. We are determined to rid the Bitcoin market of anyone who knowingly helps criminal actors hide illegal profits in crypto wallets.
Hopkins admitted to running a cryptocurrency exchange business and converting US dollars into cryptocurrency, primarily Bitcoin, for a fee. He also admitted that he frequently sent BTC to customers’ crypto wallets without taking any additional steps to verify the source of funds.
Court documents show that Hopkins helped a customer identified as “MH” convert US dollars into Bitcoin from a lottery scam he ran in Nigeria. Over the course of about a year, he completed 37 transactions with the scammer that converted between $ 550,000 and $ 1.5 million.
According to DOJ:
Hopkins admitted he had promised not to interfere in the details of MH’s business dealings, but told MH how to circumvent financial institutions’ reporting requirements by keeping deposits below $ 9,500 and instructed MH to advise financial institutions of the purpose of business lying.
Hopkins admitted that he was not licensed to operate a crypto exchange business in the state and was not registered as a money transfer company with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an office of the U.S. Treasury Department.
Noting that the defendant “failed to comply with federal laws requiring money transfer companies to verify the name, date of birth, and address of customers – a law aimed at identifying those involved in illegal activity – and failing to do so.” To submit reports of currency transactions for high amounts “cash-in transactions,” the DOJ stated:
Hopkins now faces up to five years in federal prison.
Do you think this Doctor Bitcoin should go to jail for five years? Let us know in the comment section below.
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