A man from Florida admitted to operating an illegal Bitcoin exchange, which sent him to prison for nearly six years. The exchange that he operated was suspected of money laundering, and it is believed that hackers were using it on regular basis.
The man in question is a 33-year-old Anthony Murgio of Tampa. On January 9, he pleaded guilty to three different conspiracy counts. Those include operating this illegal exchange office, as well as bank fraud.
Murgio, as well as his co-conspirators, have processed millions from dollars to bitcoin during two years. His bitcoin exchange, Coin.mx, was working on this from 2013 to 2015. Apparently, many of the transactions that the company processed came from ransomware victims. That makes sense since hackers mostly demand to be paid in bitcoin these days.
Alison Nathan, the US District Judge in Manhattan has said that Murgio was led by ambition and greed. Murgio himself expressed regret for the crimes he committed and lost his composure multiple times. The judge credited these emotional outbursts as genuine.
Murgio stated that he is sorry for the damage that he has done and that he now understands that believing that his actions were OK did not make them OK.
Murgio was originally supposed to be sentenced from 10 to 12-1/2 years in prison. However, several factors, including his generosity to friends, as well as support for the family, has helped in reducing the sentence.
His lawyer, Brian Klein, has stated that he is satisfied with this reduction.
On the other hand, Eun Choi, Assistant U.S. Attorney, has stated that Murgio exploited the desperation of the ransomware victims in order to make a profit.
Then last October, Murgios father Michael also decided to plead guilty to an obstruction charge that was tied to the credit union. Due to the investigation of a JPMorgan breach, nine people were charged. The breach exposed 83+ million accounts.
However, prosecutors have pointed out that Con.mx was owned by Gery Shalon. Shalon, however, pleaded not guilty.
The investigation also uncovered the fact that in Mach, Manhattan’s jury convicted a software engineer from Florida named Yuri Lebedev. Alongside him, Trevon Gross, a pastor from New Jersey was also convicted. Their crime was concealing of the Coin.mx’s activities from regulators and banks.
They currently wait to be sentenced.