Jacob Burrell Campos, a resident of Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico will be sentenced on February 11, 2019, on charges of operating an unregistered Bitcoin cryptocurrency exchange. Burrell will be facing a maximum of five years of imprisonment along with a fine of $250,000. He was arrested when he tried to enter the United States at the Otay Mesa crossing.
Through his unlicensed Bitcoin exchange, from January 2015 to April of 2016, Burrell carried out the sale of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin to over 1,000 customers throughout the United States. Between 2015 and 2017, he used San Diego based bank to convert cash into Bitcoins at the Bifinex and Coinbase exchange. According to the prosecutors, Burrell was as a middleman for other people. He was charging a five percent commission in the process of converting cash into Bitcoin.
In his plea agreement, he admitted operating a Bitcoin cryptocurrency exchange without getting it registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Burrell had also not implemented the necessary anti-money laundering safeguards.
The practice in itself is not illegal in the U.S. if it is registered as a money transmitting business and proper records are carefully maintained and any kind of suspicious transactions are reported timely, as mentioned in The Register report. In his plea agreement, Burrell admitted purchasing his initial supply of Bitcoin through a U.S.-based regulated exchange. But owing to a large number of suspicious transactions, his account was soon closed, as stated in the press release issued by the United States Attorney’s office.
Apart from charges of operating an unregistered Bitcoin cryptocurrency exchange, Burrell is also facing 28 other charges of money laundering for Bitcoin purchases he made with the cash. Each of these charges if proved, carry a maximum sentencing of 20 years in prison.[The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or the official policy of the website. ]