1. Home
  2. investment
  3. news
  4. 2 founders of a crypto mixer charged with laundering funds from the dark web

2 founders of a crypto mixer charged with laundering funds from the dark web

Geoff Weiss   

2 founders of a crypto mixer charged with laundering funds from the dark web
  • The cofounders of crypto mixer Samourai Wallet were charged with money laundering.
  • The service anonymized hundreds of millions of dollars for dark web criminals, prosecutors said.

The cofounders of a cryptocurrency mixing service called Samourai Wallet — which rendered crypto transactions anonymous — have been arrested and charged with money laundering, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York claimed the crypto mixer made $2 billion worth of transactions untraceable, and that its founders — Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill — knew criminals were using the service to launder funds.

Rodriguez and Hill were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business.

The Samourai Wallet website has been seized. Rodriguez and Hill were arrested Wednesday, and the US will seek Hill's extradition from Portugal to stand trial, according to a press release.

About $100 million of the transactions executed by Samourai Wallet originated from "illegal darkweb markets, such as Silk Road and Hydra Market" — as well as various online schemes and other illegal activities, prosecutors alleged in the indictment.

And Rodriguez and Hill were well aware, the prosecutors said. They "openly invited users to launder criminal proceeds" publicly on X, in DMs, and in marketing materials passed to potential investors, according to the indictment.

Rodriguez was Samourai's CEO, and Hill was its CTO. They founded the company in 2015, according to the indictment, and the app has been downloaded over 100,000 times. All told, it netted them $4.5 million in transaction fees, according to the indictment.

"The FBI is committed to exposing covert financial schemes and ensuring no one can hide behind a screen to perpetuate financial wrongdoing," FBI Assistant Director James Smith said in a statement.

Lawyers haven't been listed for either Rodriguez or Hill and an attorney who has represented their company in the past did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. If convicted, they each face a maximum of 25 years in prison.