FBI Uncovers $30 Million Illegal Cryptocurrency Money-Transmitting Operation

The FBI has pressed charges against six individuals for allegedly running an illegal money-transmitting operation valued at $30 million, utilizing cryptocurrencies. 

Illegal Money-Transmitting Operation Uncovered: Cryptocurrencies and Darknet Transactions

This case was revealed in court documents filed in the Southern District of New York on Wednesday. The accused individuals, namely Shaileshkumar Goyani, Brijeshkumar Patel, Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel, and Raju Patel, were operating in New York without the requisite money transmitting license, as detailed in the filed documents.

The information, disclosed in an unsealed FBI agent's affidavit requesting the arrest of these individuals, outlines their activities between July 2021 and September 2023. During this period, they reportedly engaged in an unlawful money-transmitting business, using the darknet to convert cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, into physical cash.

Charges, Co-Conspirators, and Confiscated Cash: Key Details of the Case

A U.S. Magistrate judge has conditionally released at least one of the accused individuals, Naineshkumar Patel, as indicated in court documents. The filing references an unidentified co-conspirator who mentioned that some clients "made money by selling drugs," and the most affluent clients were "hackers." This co-conspirator informed an undercover officer that he had generated around $30 million over three years by exchanging cash for virtual currency.

On February 7, 2023, law enforcement detained an individual who had been mailing packages of cash on behalf of the unnamed co-conspirator from a post office in Westchester County, New York. This arrested individual later became a confidential source and cooperated with law enforcement for approximately eight months in about 80 controlled cash pick-ups, totaling roughly $15 million.

Enforcement and Surveillance: Unmasking the Illicit Money-Transmitting Network

The court filing is supported by photographic and video surveillance evidence that captures the accused individuals in the act. It alleges that these defendants are neither registered nor possess a licensed money-transmitting business, a mandatory requirement in the state of New York.

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