Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Complaints Allege Individuals Gained Control of Small CU to Run Underground Bitcoin Exchange

Unsealed criminal complaints charged Anthony Murgio and Yuri Lebedev with running an unlicensed Internet Bitcoin exchange, which they operated through a phony front-company and, at times, a federal credit union that Murgio acquired for purposes of the scheme.

Since at least late 2013, Murgio, Lebedev, and their co-conspirators have knowingly operated, a Bitcoin exchange service, in violation of federal anti-money laundering (“AML”) laws and regulations, including those requiring money services businesses like to meet registration and reporting requirements set forth by the United States Treasury Department.

In an effort to evade potential scrutiny, Murgio obtained beneficial control of a New Jersey-based federal credit union which served primarily low-income local residents. Murgio then installed Lebedev and others on the credit union’s Board of Directors, and transferred’s banking operations to the credit union, which Murgio, Lebedev and other co-conspirators operated, at least until early 2015, as a captive bank for their unlawful business.

At that time, after discovering that substantial payment processing activity was being conducted through the credit union, the National Credit Union Administration forced the credit union to cease engaging in such activity.

Read the press release.

Read the signed complaint.

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