Crypto Updates

Crypto Mixer Operator Found Guilty for Laundering $400 Million

indictment, crime, fraud

Roman Sterlingov, the operator of the $400 million Bitcoin Fog crypto mixer, was convicted of money laundering and other related charges in the United States yesterday (Tuesday). The verdict by the jury came after a four-week-long trial.

The 35-year-old is a citizen of Russia and Sweden and is now convicted of money laundering conspiracy, sting money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and violations of the D.C. Money Transmitters Act.

According to the US Justice Department, Bitcoin Fog was one of the “longest-running and most prolific Bitcoin money laundering services on the darknet.” The platform was operated by Sterlingov from October 2011 to April 2021 and offered services to “criminals seeking to hide their illicit proceeds from law enforcement.”

The platform moved more than 1.2 million Bitcoin, valued at about $400 million at the time of the transactions. These cryptocurrencies mostly came from darknet marketplaces and were tied to illegal narcotics, computer fraud, and abuse activities, and identity theft. The platform further served “purveyors of child sexual abuse material.”

The jury further granted forfeiture of seized assets belonging to Bitcoin Fog, including over 1,354 Bitcoin held in the platform’s wallet, $349,625 in cash, and other cryptocurrencies seized from the accounts on Kraken.

The Sentencing Is Due

Sterlingov is now looking at a maximum prison sentence of 50 years for all the conviction counts combined. His sentencing has been scheduled for July 15, 2024.

“Roman Sterlingov thought he could use the shadows of the internet to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoin without getting caught. But he was wrong,” said Deputy Attorney General Monaco.

Jim Lee, the IRS Criminal Investigation Chief, said: “Evidence presented at trial clearly showed that the defendant laundered hundreds of millions of illicit funds from the dark web through Bitcoin Fog in an attempt to conceal the origin of those funds.”

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing Sterlingov, Tor Ekeland, tweeted about their decision to appeal against the jury verdict.

The conviction of Sterlingov cements the US authorities’ stance to go against the Bitcoin mixing services. Earlier, US prosecutors charged Roman Semenov and Roman Storm, the founders of Tornado Cash, another crypto-mixing service. The duo were blamed for…

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