California man who used bitcoin to launder $13 million given 3-year jail sentence
- Hugo Mejia, 50, was sentenced to three years in
prisonfor operating an unlicensed money exchange.
- Mejia exchanged $13 million in
bitcoinand cash, laundering money connected to drug trafficking.
Hugo Mejia, a 50-year-old California man, has been jailed for three years after setting up an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange business.
The firm exchanged at least $13 million in bitcoin and cash, often for drug traffickers, the US Attorney's Office said.
The crimes occurred between May 2018 and September 2020.
AP News reported that Mejia was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty in July to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and
Mejia, who lived in San Bernardino County, admitted to establishing multiple businesses, including one called "The HODL Group LLC," in an attempt to hide his identity and activity.
He also failed to register his company with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau in the Treasury Department that tackles such crimes. Last year, the bureau's work was under the spotlight after leaked documents were shared with news outlets.
Mejia's case was under
The Attorney's Office press release stated that a client who was working with law enforcement met Mejia multiple times between May 2019 and March 2020 to exchange bitcoin for cash.
On March 12, 2020, the client met Mejia in a coffee shop and exchanged $82,150 in cash for the equivalent bitcoin. During this exchange, the client made clear he worked with an Australian drug dealer.
The client who was working for law enforcement and Mejia conducted more than $250,000 worth of bitcoin and cash exchanges over five meetings.
As part of his plea agreement, Mejia forfeited $233,987 in cash seized from California residences, silver coins, and bars, as well as nearly $100,000 in various cryptocurrencies.
- 479 leaked photos purporting to show Putin's secret palace, with an ice rink and pole-dancing room, published by Navalny foundation
- SEBI is hiring young graduate professionals for a monthly stipend of ₹60,000, last date is January 25
- One of the largest cryptocurrency swapping platforms just lost $1.3 million as users failed to update approvals
- This Indian couple plans to get married in a Hogwarts-themed metaverse to beat the pandemic's restrictions
- Here are some of Netaji’s inspirational quotes as India remembers its valiant fighter
- Lifecycle of cryptocurrencies – From creation to trade and destruction
- Reliance Industries net profit more than triples in the last eight quarters to $2.8 billion
- Reliance Retail earns $1.3 billion more than its best-ever quarter