‘Bitcoin Maven’ Goes To Jail for One Year for Laundering Bitcoin
In a major step-up to curtail rampant money laundering using cryptocurrency, the US Attorney Office has sentenced a key offender to a one-year jail term and $20,000 fine, and confiscation of all hoarded currencies.
Theresa Lynn Tetley, a trader of bitcoin known in local markets as “Bitcoin Maven,” was found guilty of commercially engaging in bitcoin for cash exchange without a license. Hence, the transactions were regarded as illegal.
The proceeds from these transactions included 25 bars of gold and $292,264 in cash, besides 40 bitcoin, resulting in the indictment of the trader for hoarding money.
Who was Tetley?
Tetley, aged 50 years, was a seasoned stockbroker and realtor who found the lure of bitcoin trading for cash a lucrative business. There are several service providers in cryptocurrencies who exchange bitcoin for cash and must comply with regulatory guidelines. Tetley foundered because her business model was illegal, as she transacted without required legal sanction and a license of operation.
She leveraged the advantages of cryptocurrency and was a successful trader at exchanges and also services online clients. She typically reached out to clients on currency blogs in her trader pseudonym ‘bitcoin maven.’ She was willing to be part of illegal transactions such as drug dealers. In fact, it was one such deal with an offender under surveillance by FBI, which eventually resulted in her arrest.
Investigators had intruded her illegal business and worked for over 2 years to build a case against her.
She was arrested and become the first such anti-money laundering bitcoin trading agent to be convicted. Tetley was produced before the U.S. District Judge Manuel Real who found her guilty on one charge of money laundering and one charge of financial transactions and transmitting business without a license.
As per law, Tetely had to register her services with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Or FinCEN, prior to beginning her bitcoin for cash exchange service. Additionally, she failed on another key regulatory requirement. She failed to report particular types of transactions which are regarded as a money laundering business.
Throughout her business history, she exchanged bitcoin for cash valued between $6 million $9.5 million for customers across the United States. She typically advertised her services on the trading platform for cryptocurrency peers – LocalBitcoins.com. ‘
Tetley was convicted after the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement had discovered Morgan Rockcoons, the CEO of Rockcoons Bitcoin Inc., guilty of operating an illegal transmission business. He was charged for exchanging 10 bitcoin for $10,000 in 2017, by the sleuths of the enforcement agency.
Bradley Anthony Stetkiw operated in illegal money transmission for selling $150,000 bitcoin between 2013 and 2015. Over $56,000 were purchased by police undercover.
The flagrant abuse of anonymity bitcoin and other alternate currencies offer has been the bane of the financial crimes. IRS Criminal Investigations have been focusing on this aspect for years since bitcoin trading has begun.
Tetley’s investigations were handled by Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Puneet Kakkar, a US Assistant Attorney for Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.