Charges of money laundering and illegal money transmission have been levied against a 21-year-old bitcoin dealer in California.
According to several sites, including justice.gov, and per a statement by the Department of Justice in the Southern District of California, last week Jacob Burrell Campos was held without bail on those aforementioned charges. That order came at a hearing last week.
The charges allege that Burrell sold roughly $750,000 in bitcoin to about 900 individuals throughout the United States over a period that stretched from January 2015 to April 2016. He had allegedly done so through his bitcoin exchange, but had not registered that same exchange as a licensed money transmitter and did not have appropriate anti-money laundering measures in place.
Burrell was accused of committing a total of 28 counts of money laundering done internationally. The allegations state that over the course of a year, from February 2015 to February 2016, Burrell wired about $900,000 across 30 transactions from his own bank accounts to Bitfinex, the Hong Kong exchange, in order to buy bitcoin. The transactions came after his own account here in the U.S., via Coinbase, was closed – and the activity in Hong Kong allegedly was to avoid reporting certain information as required by law. In another allegation against Burrell, he evaded reporting requirements by attempting to smuggle as much as $1 million from Mexico into the U.S.
Said prosecutors in their own document announcing the charges: “Burrell’s activities ‘blew a giant hole’ through the legal framework of U.S. anti-money laundering laws by soliciting and introducing into the U.S. banking system close to $1 million in unregulated cash.”
If convicted, as noted by sites such as nbclosangeles.com, Burrell could spend the rest of his life in prison. By operating an exchange, he was also supposed to report what might have been flagged as “suspicious” activities to the government, noted that publication.