New Jersey resident William Green faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for selling $2 million worth of Bitcoin online.
The Justice Department Lays Down the Hammer
On Wednesday the U.S. Department of Justice charged a 46-year-old New Jersey man with running an unlicensed Bitcoin exchange. William Green of Monmouth County New Jersey is alleged to have operated Destination Bitcoin, a website that allowed users to turn fiat into cryptocurrency.
According to the New Jersey Attorney’s Office, Green processed more than $2 million in cash and converted the funds into Bitcoin for a fee.
This is not Green’s first encounter with law enforcement and he was previously charged with operating an unlicensed money transmission business in February 2019.
Current US federal law stipulates that “any person who owns or operates a money transmitting business must register the business with the Secretary of the Treasury.” In a press release on Wednesday, the New Jersey Attorney’s Office explained that:
However, Green did not register, either in his own name or in the name of his business, with the Secretary of the United States Treasury as a money transmitting business.”
If convicted, the charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, along with a $250,000 fine.
Green is not the first U.S. citizen facing significant jail time and fines for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. On April 9, 2019, 22-year-old Jacob Burrell Campos was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence for selling unlicensed Bitcoins. Campos offered his services via localbitcoin.com and frequently used encrypted messaging apps to communicate with customers.
Similar to Green, Campos sold Bitcoin for 5% above the spot exchange rate and received payments in cash. In addition to failing to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Campos also admitted that he did not employ anti-money laundering and know-your-customer processes on his exchange.
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