California Bitcoin Dealer Indicted for Money Laundering

Authorities have indicted a 21-year-old Bitcoin dealer for money laundering as he sold $750,000 in Bitcoin across the US.

Across the world, governments are grappling with how to regulate cryptocurrency. Some are heavy-handed in their approach, while others just seek to put some regulations in place for consumer protection. One thing that all governments frown upon is someone looking to ignore regulations and use cryptocurrency to launder money. When someone thumbs their those at the government by doing that, that’s when the hammer comes down.

Illegal Bitcoin Dealing

Case in point is Jacob Burrell Campos, a 21-year-old man from Rosarito. He was arrested by law enforcement when he tried to enter the United States from Mexico via the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

His crime? Well, Campos faces a 31-count indictment. Chief among the charges is money laundering. It seems Campos has been a pretty busy Bitcoin dealer. He traveled across the United States, selling $750,000 in bitcoins to more than 900 customers. In all, he was involved in 971 transactions.

However, Campos did not register with the US Department of Treasury, not to mention complying with their money laundering laws. In fact, he went out of his way to engage in shady deals where he took a 5 percent cut, allowing people to wash their dirty dollars into clean cryptocurrency.

A Bitcoin dealer is facing 28 counts of money laundering.

Indicted for Multiple Counts of Money Laundering

Of the 31 counts in his indictment, 28 of those are for money laundering. This is due to Campos sending 28 wire transfers totaling $900,00 to a bank account in Taiwan. After getting kicked off a US exchange for not verifying his identity, Campos switched to buying bitcoins off Bitfinex.

Compounding his legal woes, Campos also sought to smuggle in more than $1 million into the US from Mexico with the aid of several other people. Each movement was under $10,000 so as to not legally be obliged to report it when crossing the border.

Unsurprisingly, Campos was denied bail. This is due to the fact that he has access to a large sum of money, has close ties with Mexico, and has citizenship in 3 countries. The judge believes that if let out of jail, Campos would be a flight risk.

No trial date has been set as of yet. Depending upon the statute, Campos is facing 10 to 20 years behind bars for every money laundering conviction.

Do you think this Bitcoin seller will cut a deal to reduce his prison time? Let us know in the comments below.

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Bitcoin ATM Robbed by Masked Burglar

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska, are looking for the masked burglar who robbed a Bitcoin ATM early in the morning.

Crime and cryptocurrency have definitely mixed over the last year. The massive bull run in Bitcoin in late 2017 led many criminals to take notice of the massive amounts of money associated with cryptocurrency. Most physical criminal acts concerning cryptocurrency usually involve a person being robbed as they’re carrying cash to buy Bitcoin or some other virtual currency. One masked burglar in Lincoln, Nebraska, decided to go directly to the source and rob a Bitcoin ATM.

Early Morning Robbery

The burglar broke into The Mill Coffee and Tea shop located in Lincoln’s Haymarket. The criminal shattered the store’s glass door around 3:30 am. Once inside, he robbed the Bitcoin ATM of the cash it was holding.

The ATM is owned by Alpha BTC, which is based in Omaha. This was the second crypto ATM the company had installed and the first to be located in Lincoln (population of 280,000). The ATM had been in service since late September 2017.

Currently, the burglar is still at large, and the amount of money stolen has not been disclosed. Alpha BTC says that the machine is used to buy and sell Bitcoin, but the vast majority of people using it did so to buy BTC.

Bitcoin ATM

The Rise of the Bitcoin ATM

There’s no information on how much damage the Bitcoin ATM withstood. They’re not cheap, and Alpha BTC says that each machine costs between five to ten thousand dollars.

As people become more knowledgeable and comfortable with virtual currencies, more crypto ATMs are popping up. Just over 6 machines are installed every day, and there are currently 3,617 Bitcoin ATMs in operation.

Recently, a cryptocurrency ATM was installed in a European airport for the first time in Amsterdam. The bulk of crypto ATMs are located in North America, but other regions are getting in the action. Kenya gained its very first Bitcoin ATM in late June.

This robbery is rather old school in that it was a straightforward smash-and-grab. However, security researchers have found malware being sold on the Dark Web that hackers can use to target Bitcoin ATMs and withdraw cryptocurrency.

The digital frontier of cryptocurrency is exciting, but it seems that crime will always be a part of any new technological revolution.

Do you use a Bitcoin ATM? Let us know in the comments below.

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Bitcoin is a Lot of ‘Hope and Hype,’ Says SIX Group Executive

Thomas Zeeb, the head of securities and exchanges at the SIX Group isn’t a fan of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading. Speaking in a recent interview, Zeeb spoke about his opinion on Bitcoin, the upcoming SDX launch, as well as other topical issues in the cryptocurrency space.

Nothing Behind Bitcoin but ‘Hope and Hype’

Speaking to Business Insider, Zeeb characterized Bitcoin as having little merit beyond the realms of hope and hype. According to him, reputational problems were plaguing the top-ranked cryptocurrency.

However, Zeeb was quick to point out that Bitcoin wasn’t alone in that category, saying:

But let’s face it, whether you’re in a traditional or a digital market, there’s always been listings and securities you can name — US and Canadian penny shares, Australian mining shares — there have always been listings that are hugely risky and in some other ways potentially problematic.

As far as reputation is concerned, Bitcoin gets a negative rap that is utterly tangential from what the reality is in the market. A recent statement by a high-ranking agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) revealed that speculative investments accounted for the greater majority of Bitcoin transactions as against drug trafficking and other illegal activities.

SDX Unlikely to List Cryptocurrencies

Zeeb also spoke about the Swiss Digital Asset Exchange (SDX) and its plans of becoming a mainstream bourse for digital assets. The SDX, which is run by the SIX Group-owned Swiss stock exchange will focus on ICO tokens.

According to Zeeb, the SDX wishes to expose the ICO tokens to institutional investors, enhancing the legitimacy of the market. Commenting on the plan, the SIX Group executive said:

There is demand from institutional clients to find a way to legitimize and bring asset safety into play. Our job is to bring capital to companies at the end of the day. That’s changing.

With its focus on ICO tokens, Zeeb insists that the SDX will not venture into the cryptocurrency trading market. According to Zeeb, cryptocurrency exchanges that handle such trades are dime-a-dozen. Hence, the SDX feels no incentive to participate in a saturated environment. Instead, Zeeb prefers that the platform focuses on bridging the funding gap faced by blockchain startups by providing a marketplace where their tokens can become tradeable assets.

Do you agree with Thomas Zeeb’s characterization of Bitcoin as ‘hope and hype?’? Let us know your views in the comment section below.

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